Bersamin: Ruling on same-sex marriage plea means deciding a 'hypothetical' situation


Posted at Jun 19 2018 09:02 PM | Updated as of Jun 19 2018 09:08 PM

MANILA - Ruling on a lawyer's petition for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the Philippines would mean rendering a decision on a "hypothetical" situation, Supreme Court Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin said Tuesday.

This after petitioner Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who described himself as "an open and self-identified homosexual" in his petition, admitted that he has not tried to apply for a marriage license.

"Petitioner admits that he does not have a partner," Falcis told the high court during oral arguments on his plea.

Falcis has named the Civil Registrar General, the body tasked to issue marriage licenses, as a respondent in the case.

In his plea, the lawyer sought to declare parts of the Family Code unconstitutional, saying these violate homosexuals' right "to found a family" as protected under the 1987 Constitution.

Bersamin explained that Falcis is asking the Supreme Court to decide on a petition where he is not an adverse party since he never tried to apply for a marriage license.

"Here, you are asking us a very ordinary task of correcting somebody's mistake which was not even a mistake because there was no instance that you asked the official to function as such," the magistrate said.

"You will be asking us to rule on a hypothetical situation. Did you not realize that?" he added.

Bersamin also lectured Falcis that the latter should first have brought his case before a regional trial court instead of the Supreme Court given the hierarchy of courts.

Falcis explained that while he does not have a partner, he does not have the right to decide whether he can legally marry as a gay man.

"The right to marry is individual in nature wherein it allows other people to may or may not marry and that is the injury that I suffer," Falcis said.

"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 added.

Bersamin explained that the court needs an "actual case" that requires an "adverse party."

"What we need here when you come to us is an adverse party because we are not allowed as a court to render advisory judgments or opinions. What we need is an actual case and controversy and that requires an adverse party," he said.