Supreme Court dismisses ‘with finality’ petition seeking to allow same-sex marriage in PH

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed “with finality” a petition filed by a lawyer that sought to make same-sex marriages legal in the Philippines.

In a notice sent to reporters, the high court said that they were denying the appeal filed by Attorney Jesus Falcis because it offered “no substantial arguments” that would lead to a reversal of a previous September decision to dismiss his petition.

Edgar Aricheta, the clerk of the court, said in the notice that “no further pleadings will be entertained.”

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In its previous decision, the court had dismissed the petition, saying the issue should be discussed in Congress. It added that the petition was also thrown out because of Falcis’ “lack of standing, violating the principle of hierarchy of courts, and failing to raise an actual, justiciable controversy.”

Falcis, an openly gay lawyer and radio host, first filed the petition in the high court in 2015, asking it to nullify articles in the country’s Family Code that limited marriage to unions between a man and a woman on the grounds that they were unconstitutional (the Constitution itself places no such restrictions on marriage). Falcis also sought the nullification of laws that list homosexuality as suitable grounds for legal separation and annulment of marriages.

In its dismissal in September, the Court said it recognized the discrimination faced by members of the LGBT+ community, but that same-sex marriage was “a matter that should be addressed to Congress.”

“Legislation ideally allows public democratic deliberation on the various ways to assure these fundamental rights. The process of legislation exposes the experiences of those who have been oppressed, ensuring that this be understood by those who stand with the majority,” the court said in a decision written by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

“Often public reason needs to be first shaped through the crucible of campaigns and advocacies within our political forums before it sharpened for judicial fiat,” the court added.

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But in an indication of Congress’ likely unwillingness to take up the cause anytime soon, House Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva, the founder of the Christian group Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide, expressed glee over the court’s decision, calling it a “welcome development.”

“The Family Code was crafted to mirror the historical, traditional and religious values of Filipinos on marriage. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution in Filipino life, has always been conceived between a man and a woman. Hence, to nullify such law which bears our values on marriage is tantamount to denying our identity as a people and betraying our deep-held morals. It is not only against God, but it is also against ourselves as a people,” Villanueva said.

He said that the court’s decision “reaffirms our belief that we are on the right path when we stand to defend that marriage is just and must be confined between man and woman. It is not only the divine will of God, but it is also the standing spirit and will of the laws of our land.”


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