Supreme Court to hold oral arguments on same-sex marriage

MANILA, Philippines – After nearly 3 years in the docket, a petition seeking to legalize same-sex marriage will be tackled in oral arguments at the Supreme Court (SC) in June.

"The Court set the case for oral arguments on June 19, 2018, at 2:00 in the afternoon," SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said in a news conference on Tuesday, March 6.

The petition was filed in May 2015 by openly gay lawyer Jesus Falcis III, who asked 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.

Falcis said in his petition 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.

Falcis' petition is the first of its kind because it did not arise from an actual case of a same-sex couple wanting to marry.

"No one has dared assert their right in a society where they would probably be ashamed and discriminated [against] for doing so," the lawyer said in 2015.

Instead, Falcis said he "has a personal stake in the outcome of this case being an open and self-identified homosexual."

Months after he filed his petition, Falcis accompanied same-sex couples to the Quezon City Civil Registrar's Office to apply for marriage licenses. They were denied.

The oral arguments give them their most-awaited day in court.

In his petition, Falcis said same-sex marriage is "of transcendental importance to the nation because of the millions of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Filipinos all over the country who are deprived of marrying the one they want or the one they love."

"Those who pursue same-sex relationships despite the stigma are deprived of the bundle of rights that flow from a legal recognition of a couple's relationship – visitation and custody rights, property and successional rights, and other privileges accorded to opposite-sex relations," the petition states.

The Catholic Church is expected to react strongly to this new development. 

Read a Thought Leaders piece on same-sex marriage by Falcis here. – Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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