A lawyer has asked the Supreme Court to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry by declaring as unconstitutional the provisions of the Family Code that disallow same-sex marriages.
Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who filed the petition in 2015 seeking the legalization of same-sex marriages for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders, complained to the high court that the Filipino LGBTs were being denied their rights or were being treated as second-class citizens by not allowing them to marry.
During the oral arguments on his petition, Falcis said lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders were being denied their constitutional right to equal protection of the law.
To correct this injustice, he said, the Supreme Court should allow gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, which was necessary for them to enjoy the same rights and privileges of straight couples.
He said the high court should strike down the prohibition against same-sex marriages under the Family Code.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen asked why the petitioners were pushing for same-sex marriages when they could enjoy similar relationships as straight couples did.
“Is it possible to love, to promise, to have children, to have intimate relations outside of marriage? Is it possible to have property relations outside of marriage?” Leonen said.
While Falcis responded in the affirmative, he explained the difference between a partnership recognized by the state and a relationship outside marriage.
He said LGBTs were being denied their “bundle of rights” and had become “second-class citizens with unequal footing” with straight couples because of prohibitions.
He cited the right of straight couples to make medical decisions for their spouses and claim benefits from the Social Security System and Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
“There are contracts or stipulations not allowed unless you are married under the law,” Falcis said.
“The Family Code limited the definition of marriage by itself without due regard to the constitutional provisions about right to marry in relation with equal-protection clause,” Falcis said.
Leonen told Falcis if he and the others wanted to be able to legally adopt children, they should instead push for an amendment to the law on adoption.
He also asked Falcis if the LGBT members could satisfy the requirement of procreation for marriage under the law.
“Technically, with the advent of science, it is individually possible,” Falcis said and cited surrogacy as an option.
But he said to allow the marriage of couples of the same sex was a matter of “valuing their dignity.”
Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe asked Falcis why they brought their cause to the high court and not to Congress, which could amend the law.
“Fundamental rights cannot be subject to political whims,” he said, adding that what Falcis and the others were asking from the high court was simply to interpret the assailed provisions of the Family Code and declare them as violative of the Constitution.