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Carpio says same-sex civil agreements constitutional

Civil partnerships among same-sex couples is constitutional, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said on Tuesday.

Carpio made the remark as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the petition seeking to nullify the Family Code provisions that limited marriage to that between a man and a woman.

"Supposing those agreements are now embodied in a law, would that be constitutional? Of course, because even without the law, that would be constitutional, correct?" Carpio told Solicitor General Jose Calida while referring to civil agreements between among same-sex partners.

These agreements may involve matters of inheritance and burial decisions, the acting Chief Justice said.

"Well, I respect your position, therefore I tend to agree with you, Your Honor," Calida said.

Calida, while arguing for the Office of the Civil Registrar General, is opposing the petition of lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis who wants Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code—those on marriage as being between a man and a woman—be declared unconstitutional.

Carpio said that while the "historical, biblical, and social understanding" of marriage is that between a man and a woman, there could be a union—"a new term" and a "new development"—for couples of the same sex.

"Well, as long as the rose does not smell like a rose, then there's no problem," Calida said.

Carpio said that two people of the same sex can constitutionally forge an agreement regarding property "but it does not go against" Calida's stance that marriage is between a man and a woman.

A bill seeking the legalization of same-sex civil unions is pending before the House of Representatives. Carpio said he thinks this proposed measure hinges on the constitutional right to freedom of association.

Before adjourning session, Carpio directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda within 30 days.

After these filings, the case will be deemed submitted for resolution. —NB, GMA News