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Proposed constit’l amendment stays gender neutral on marriage

The draft provisions submitted by the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Philippine Constitution stayed gender neutral when tackling marriage. This is a development that those supporting marriage equality should note, considering that the current petition filed with the Supreme Court hinges on the same wording.

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The draft provisions submitted by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to review the 1987 Philippine Constitution stays gender neutral when tackling marriage.

The President already approved and is endorsing it to Congress.

Page 93 of the 108-page document, ARTICLE XVIII: THE FAMILY, states:

SECTION 1. The Federal Republic recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the
nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.

SECTION 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the Federal Republic.

SECTION 3. The Federal Republic shall defend:
(a) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;
(b) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
(c) The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and
(d) The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.

SECTION 4. The family has the duty to care for its elderly or vulnerable members, but the Federal Republic may also do so through just programs of social security.

As per Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “spouse” may be used to refer to “husband” or “wife”.

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This is a development that those supporting marriage equality should note, considering that the current petition filed with the Supreme Court (SC) hinges on the same neutrality of wording.

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.”

If/when passed by Congress, a plebiscite or referendum will be held mid-2019 to ensure transition until 2022.


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