PHILIPPINES: Supreme Court thumbs down same-sex marriage case ‘with finality’
By Benjamin Pulta
Philippine News Agency (06.01.2020) – https://bit.ly/2tYQKVp – The Supreme Court (SC) has denied “with finality” a motion for reconsideration on its previous decision junking same sex marriage petition in the Philippines.
In a notice sent to reporters on Monday, the SC through Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta ordered that entry of judgment be made on the suit filed by lawyer Jesus Nicardo M. Falcis III and the LGBTS Christian Church Inc. against the Civil Registrar-General.
The High Court said the motion for partial reconsideration on the SC’s September 3, 2019 decision was “denied with finality,” noting that “no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision”.
“No further pleadings or motions will be entertained,” the SC added.
In its September 3 verdict, the SC en banc unanimously dismissed the petition filed by Falcis, citing lack of legal standing to initiate the petition as well as for failing to comply with the principle of hierarchy of courts.
The Court, likewise, said it is turning down the suit since there is no actual case ripe for adjudication or “failing to raise an actual, justiciable controversy”.
The following are Family Code provisions questioned by Falcis before the High Court:
Article 1, defining marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman”;
Article 2, which enumerates essential requisites of a valid marriage to include the “legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female”;
Article 46, identifying the concealment of homosexuality or lesbianism, among other things existing at the time of the marriage as fraud which may be used as basis for the annulment of a marriage; and
Article 55, identifying lesbianism or homosexuality as grounds for a petition for legal separation.
The court said while the Constitution does not restrict marriage on the basis of gender, it underscored the need of formal legislation to allow a more orderly deliberation in assuring rights.
“Adjudication assures arguments between parties with respect to the existence and interpretation of fundamental freedoms. On the other hand, legislation ideally allows democratic deliberation on the various ways to assure those fundamental rights,” the tribunal said in its ruling.
“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. Often public reason needs to be first shaped through the crucible of campaigns and advocacies within our political forums before it is sharpened for judicial fiat,” it added.