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Supreme Court to hear arguments on same-sex marriage Tuesday, June 19, 2018


The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday will hear oral arguments on a lawyer's petition seeking same-sex marriage in the Philippines.

Arguing to challenge the Family Code's limit of marriages to heterosexual couples is lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, a gay man, who will finally see his day in the highest Philippine court three years after he filed his petition.

Arguing for the state is the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in behalf of the Civil Registrar General, which had in 2015, attempted to discredit Falcis' petition for "fundamental flaws."

At its core, Falcis' pleading wants the SC to nullify Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines for being unconstitutional. These are the provisions that state a marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

Consequently, Articles 46(4) and 55(6) must also be invalidated, he said, for these allow "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" as grounds for annulment and legal separation, he argued.

The OSG said Falcis had no legal standing to file the petition because he failed to show he suffered any "injury in fact" due to the enforcement of the Family Code.

Though the question in the young lawyer's petition "may be consequential," the OSG claimed the invocation of the doctrine of "transcendental importance" could not fix its flaws.

"The lack of a concrete basis for triggering the Honorable Court's exercise of its jurisdiction militates against the claim that the resolution of petitioner's questions is a matter of transcendental importance," the OSG said.

Up for arguments on Tuesday afternoon are the following issues:

  • Whether or not the Petition and/or the Petition-in-intervention is properly the subject of the exercise of the SC's power of judicial review;
  • Whether or not the right to marry and the right to choose whom to marry are cognates of the right to life and liberty;
  • Whether or not the limitation of civil marriage to opposite-sex couples is a valid exercise of police power;
  • Whether or not limiting civil marriages to opposite-sex couples violates the equal protection clause;
  • Whether or not  denying same-sex couples the right to marry amounts to a denial of their right to life and/or liberty without due process of law;
  • Whether or not sex-based conceptions of marriage violate religious freedom;
  • Whether or not a determination that Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code are unconstitutional must necessarily carry with it the conclusion that Articles 46(4) and 55(6) of the Family Code (re: homosexuality  and lesbianism as grounds for annulment and legal separation) are also unconstitutional; and
  • Whether or not the parties are entitled to the reliefs prayed for.

Falcis and petitioners-in-intervention LGBTS Christian Church, Inc. Reverend Crescencio "Ceejay" Agbayani, Jr., Marlon Felipe, and Maria Arlyn "Sugar" Ibañez, the OSG, and intervenor Atty. Fernando Perito will each be given 20 minutes to present their arguments on the above-mentioned issues. —NB, GMA News

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