Philippines Supreme Court Denies Petition For Marriage Equality

The highest court in the Philippines “resolved to deny with finality” a petition to allow same-sex marriage.

The Philippines’ Supreme Court dismissed a petition for marriage equality, upholding the country’s ban on gay marriage.

Jesus Falcis first filed the petition in 2015. The 33-year-old gay lawyer argued that the Family Code of the Philippines discriminates against his civil rights because it “define[s] and limit[s] marriage as between man and woman.”

“I am out since the age of 15 and I suffered from discrimination throughout my school years, so I felt the need to advocate for LGBT rights,” Falcis told CNN. “I decided to use the tool of litigation, because it has been successful in other countries — such as the United States — to have gay marriage legalized.”

In September, the court ruled against Falcis’ petition. They said he can’t claim to be a victim of existing laws against gay marriage because he doesn’t currently have a partner. His arguments had no “legal standing,” and he failed to “raise an actual justiciable issue and violation of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts,” per the ruling. Moreover, the court held the petitioners “in contempt” for allegedly misusing the courts.

“I don’t have a partner and therefore can’t be considered as having suffered from the consequences of a law which bans gay marriage,” Falcis explained.

Falcis had tried adding a gay and a lesbian couple to his petition, but that didn’t work either. “They had both previously tried and failed to have their marriage recognized and therefore constituted actual cases, but the court chose to ignore them and to focus on me instead,” he said.

Though Falcis has asked the court to reconsider the case, his efforts have proved unsuccessful.

On Monday, the court “resolved to deny with finality” any further arguments in the case. “No further pleadings or motions will be entertained,” Court clerk Edgar O. Aricheta wrote.

The court did recognize the long history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination in the Philippines, and it called on Congress to address the recognition of same-sex unions. The Constitution itself “does not define or restrict marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression,” per the court summary.


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