Tuesday 13 November, 2018
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SC releases guidelines for oral arguments on same-sex marriage

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The Supreme Court has issued the guidelines for the scheduled June 19 oral arguments on a petition challenging the legality of some provisions in the Family Code affecting same-sex marriage.

In a three-page SC En Banc advisory signed by Edgar Aricheta, SC Clerk of Court, the SC gave each of the parties 20 minutes to argue their case before the SC en banc. After each presentation, the justices will be given the “privilege to ask any question on any relevant matter or require submission of any document necessary for an enlightened resolution of this case.”

The parties are directed to argue on the following issues:

“A. Whether or not the petition and/or the petition in intervention is properly the subject of the exercise of the Court’s power of judicial review;

B. Whether or not the right to marry and the right to choose whom to marry are cognates of the right to life and liberty.

C. Whether or not the limitation of civil marriage to opposite sex couples is a valid exercise of police power;

D. Whether or not limiting civil marriages to opposite sex copules violates the equal protection clause;

E. Whether or not denying same sex couples the right to marry amounts to a denial of their right to life and/or liberty without due process of law;

F. Whether or not sex-based conceptions of marriage violate religious freedom;

G. Whether or not a determination that Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code are unconstitutional must necessarily carry with it the conclusion that Articles 46(4) and 55(6) if the Family Code (re: homosexuality and lesbianism as grounds for annulment and legal separation) are also unconstitutional;

H. Whether or not the parties are entitled to the reliefs prayed for.

In his petition, Atty. Jesus Nicardo Falcis asked the SC to void Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code as well as Articles 46 (4) and 55 (6) of the same law.

Articles 1 and 2 limited marriages between man and woman while Articles 46(4) and 55 (6) mentions lesbianism or homosexuality as grounds for annulment and legal separation.

Falcis said he has a personal stake in the case since he is an open and identified homosexual and has sustained direct injury as a result of the prohibition against same-sex marriage.

“Petitioner has grown up in a society where same-sex relationships are frowned upon because of the law’s normative impact. Petitioners’ ability to find and enter into long monogamous same-sex relationship is impaired because of the absence of a legal incentive for gay individuals to seek such relationship,” he added.

He also said that sexual orientation is central to one’s identity as he challenged the notion of sexuality as a choice or preference.

Falcis said it is high time for the high court to act on this issue “because of the millions of LGBT Filipinos all over the country who are deprived from marrying the one they want or the one they love.”

“They are discouraged and stigmatized from pursuing same-sex relationships to begin with. 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 relationships,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner said the Family Code in limiting marriage between man and woman is unconstitutional because it deprives his right to liberty without substantive due process of law, the equal protection of the laws and also violated Section 3(1) Article 15 of the 1987 Constitution.

He explained that the State’s interest is to protect marriage as the foundation of the family.

“The 1987 Constitution does not define marriage solely as between man and woman,” Falcis argued.

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