SC preparing for June 19 oral arguments on same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court has started preparing for the June 19 oral arguments on a petition filed three years ago seeking a revision of the Family Code to allow same sex marriages in the Philippines.

Named respondent in the petition filed by Atty. Jesus Nicardo Falcis III is the Civil Registrar General.

The petitioners-in-intervention are LGBTS Christian Church Inc., Reverend Crescencio “Ceejay” Agbayani Jr., Marlon Felipe and Maria Arlyn “Sugar” Ibanez while Atty . Fernando Perito is the intervenor.

Falcis, who identified himself as ‘openly gay,’ filed the petition in 2015, a few days after the US Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriage in the United States.

In May 2016, the government, through then Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, formally opposed Falcis’ petition claiming that it is an “intrinsically flawed” and “ill-timed suit.”

“This is an invitation to a debate or coffee-shop conversation, not a constitutional litigation,” Hilbay said.

On June 19, based on the three-page SC En Banc advisory signed by Edgar Aricheta, SC Clerk of Court, the high court will give each party 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:

  1. Whether or not the petition should be subject to the Court’s power of judicial review;
  2. Whether or not the right to marry and whom to marry are related to the right to life and liberty;
  3. Whether or not the limitation of civil marriage to opposite sex couples is a valid exercise of police power;
  4. Whether or not limiting civil marriages to opposite sex couples violates the equal protection clause;
  5. Whether or not denying same sex couples the right to marry denies them of their right to life and liberty without due process of law;
  6. Whether or not sex-based conceptions of marriage violate religious freedom;
  7. 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;
  8. Whether or not the parties are entitled to the reliefs prayed for.

In the Philippines, there is a pending bill in the House of Representatives about recognizing “civil unions” regardless of sexual orientation.  /vvp


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