Why SAME-SEX MARRIAGE won't work in the Philippines... just yet

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Why SAME-SEX MARRIAGE won't work in the Philippines... just yet


THE United States Supreme Court has recently issued a decision allowing same-sex marriage in all US states, a landmark ruling embraced as a victory long sought by US gay rights movements.

The Philippines Supreme Court, likewise, also has a pending petition in their office seeking a similar decision.

But this petition, filed by lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, may come as hard as passing through the eye of a needle, as the country's law contains provisions that limit marriage exclusively between a man and a woman.


The Family Code of the Philippines and same-sex marriage

According to a Philstar report, Atty. Falcis filed his petition on May 18 of this year, asking the SC to nullify and declare as unconstitutional provisions of the Family Code, which laid down the legal framework for the ban on same-sex marriage.

Unlike in the US where there is no law that does not allow same-sex marriage in the country, the Philippines has the Family Code of the Philippines (Articles 1 and 2) which define marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life” and “the foundation of the family and inviolable social institution."

Aside from these provisions, Falcis also assailed Articles 46 (4) and 55 (6) of the law, which set concealment of homosexuality or lesbianism as ground for annulment and legal separation.

He argued that the ban on same-sex marriage violates the rights of homosexuals and lesbians to due process and equal protection, to decisional and marital privacy and to found a family in accordance with their religious or irreligious convictions.

The Family Code, he added, was approved with grave abuse of discretion as it effectively repealed the 1949 Civil Code and the Constitution, which did not specify parties in a lawful marriage.


Within the powers of the Congress

Meanwhile, Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, resident legal analyst of TV5 and Dean of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Institute of Law wrote in his article at Interaksyon.com:

"But our Congress, with its plenary legislative powers, can always change the law by adding same-sex marriage as another acceptable legal union. Since the Constitution is neutral and does not make any limitation as to sex, making such an amendment will textually be within its ambit. It is a principle that when the Constitution does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. The question now is: are our legislators broad-minded enough to amend the law? Or should the matter be finally decided by the Supreme Court?"


Civil Code of the Philipppines

In 1987, the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino enacted into law The Family Code of 1987, which was intended to supplant Book I of the Civil Code concerning persons and family relations.

The Family Code covers fields of significant public interest, especially the laws on marriage, the definition and requisites for marriage, along with the grounds for annulment.


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