MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines may be a predominantly Catholic country, but when it comes to topics such as same-sex marriage, Pinoys are among the most curious in the world, at least according to search data from Google.
As US President Barack Obama openly declared support for same-sex marriage a few weeks ago, Google noted a spike in searches for the term “same sex marriage,” with the Philippines claiming the top spot, even more than Americans themselves.
Other countries searching for the term include Nigeria, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, and Ireland.
According to Google’s Insights for Search, Filipino netizens has also led in searches for the term “marriage laws,” “gay rights” and “gay marriage states” in the dominant search engine.
This, despite the fact that more than 80 percent of the country’s population is Catholic, and with the Philippine clergy openly opposing same-sex unions in the country.
Gay marriage became a raging debate last month as two prominent personalities publicly denounced marriage between same-sex couples, and irking some camps in the process.
The first is former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao, whose comments in a TV interview and on the social networking site Twitter sparked outcry from groups and individuals fighting for gay rights.
Quiambao tweeted: “Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth.”
The beauty queen turned actress subsequently issued an apology, but failed to quell outrage from the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Meanwhile, world-renowned Pinoy boxer Manny Pacquiao was also placed in a difficult spot after purportedly airing his anti-gay marriage stance, which turned out to be a misquote from a blogger.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines has openly opposed legal measures that, it said, would eventually lead to allowing same-sex marriage in the country, such as the highly contentious Reproductive Health Bill.