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Supreme Court to hold oral arguments in June on same-sex marriage

Almost three years after a petition seeking the legalization of marriage equality in the Philippines, the Supreme Court (SC) set the case for oral arguments on June 19, at 2:00 in the afternoon.

Almost three years after a petition seeking the legalization of marriage equality in the Philippines, the Supreme Court (SC) set the case for oral arguments on June 19, at 2:00 in the afternoon.

Atty. Jesus Falcis III filed the petition in May 2015, asking the SC to nullify Articles 1, 2, 46(4) and 55(6) of the 1987 Family Code, all of which are basis of the State not to allow same-sex marriage.

This petition stated that such provisions in the 1987 Family Code are unconstitutional because they appear to repeal the 1949 Civil Code, which doesn’t make gender specifications on who can be married.

Article 1 of Chapter 1 (Requisites of Marriage) of the Family Code states: “Marriage is 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.”

Meanwhile, under chapter 1 (Requisites of Marriage) under Title III – Marriage of the 1949 Civil Code, it is stated:

Art. 52. Marriage is not a mere contract but an inviolable social institution. Its nature, consequences and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that the marriage settlements may to a certain extent fix the property relations during the marriage.

Art. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these requisites are complied with:

  1. Legal capacity of the contracting parties;
  2. Their consent, freely given;
  3. Authority of the person performing the marriage; and
  4. A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional character (Sec. 1a, Art. 3613).

Article 54 even stresses that “Any male of the age of sixteen years or upwards, and any female of the age of fourteen years or upwards, not under any of the impediments mentioned in Articles 80 to 84, may contract marriage.”

Oral arguments are delivered to a judge/appellate court by parties (usually a lawyer) on the legal reasons why they should prevail. These arguments – usually accompanied by written briefs – advance (or not) the position/s of each party in a legal dispute.

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All the same, sans the legal backing on marriage equality, Pastor Kakay Pamaran of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, said that “we will continue to bless relationships that are life-giving and love-filled, with or without the courts’ permission. Love cannot be contained within the logic and grammar of the State. And where the logic and grammar of the State do not suffice, communities will rise to create these pockets of spaces for Love to flourish. Such is the church community that I serve.”

Meanwhile, Pastor Joseph San Jose, the current administrative pastor of Open Table Metropolitan Community Church, said that “a time and space for conversation on any difficult and polarizing issue is something that has to be welcomed. No matter how difficult the conversation or debate is, we have to step up to the challenge because only through intentional and even strategic public discourse are we able to change lives, perspectives and even society at large. I am a firm believer that sometimes you actually need to force society into the conversation.”

San Jose said that “it is to be noted that this oral argument in the SC may have some backlash against the much sought after passage of Anti-discrimination Bill (ADB).” However, “whether ADB, amendments to the HIV law or marriage equality, advocates, activists and allies should stand their ground together on all these advocacies and issues. I welcome and support the oral arguments in the SC as a venue to discuss the legal issues pertaining to the union of same sex couples or any other issues concerning LGBTQI lives and communities.”

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*Article amended on March 7, 12.21PM to include the position of Pastor Kakay Pamaran of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
**Article amended on March 7, 12.27PM to include the position of Pastor Joseph San Jose, the current administrative pastor of Open Table Metropolitan Community Church.

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