Supreme Court ends oral arguments on same-sex marriage plea

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2018 06:05 PM

A rainbow flag is raised during a Pride March in Manila on June 24, 2017. MJ Felipe, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The Supreme Court on Tuesday ended oral arguments on a petition seeking to allow same-sex marriage in the Philippines.

Oral arguments concluded past 5:30 p.m., following around three hours of interpellations.

The high court conducted two rounds of oral arguments on a 2015 petition filed by lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who described himself in the pleading as "an open and self-identified homosexual.”

His plea sought to declare as unconstitutional portions of the Family Code of the Philippines which "define and limit marriage as between man and woman."

Named respondent in the case was the Civil Registrar General while petitioners-in-intervention include LGBTS Christian Church Inc, Reverend Crescencio "Ceejay" Agbayani Jr., Marlon Felipe, and Maria Arlyn "Sugar" Ibanez. Lawyer Fernando Perito is an intervenor.

Falcis last week argued before the high court that unlike heterosexual couples, he does not have the right to decide whether he can legally marry as a gay man.

"As a Filipino, I am attracted to the same sex and I admit that your honor. I do not have the right to may or may not marry as other people situated in the Philippines," he told the high court.

Solicitor General Jose Calida meanwhile represented the respondent and argued for the dismissal of the case, saying the 1987 Constitution does not allow same-sex marriage.

"Same-sex couples can live happily together but they cannot demand that the state recognize same-sex marriages because the Constitution doesn't allow such unions," he said.

Calida's reasoning contradicts the petitioner's argument that the State's charter does not provide any gender restrictions when it comes to marriage.

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio instructed both parties to submit their respective memoranda, which would wrap up their arguments on the case, and all requested documents within 30 days.

The just-concluded oral arguments on legalizing same-sex marriage mark a historic first in the Philippines, opening the legal discussion of a taboo in Asia's bastion of Catholicism.