THE Supreme Court (SC) en banc on Tuesday junked a petition to allow same-sex marriage in the Philippines and said its “official recognition” was a matter that “should be addressed to Congress.”
The petition for certiorari was filed by Jesus Nicardo M. Falcis 3rd who asked the high court to nullify Executive Order (EO) 209, also known as The Family Code of the Philippines.
The petition violated the “principle of hierarchy of courts and failed to raise an actual, justiciable controversy,” according to the ruling, which Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen penned.
The Office of the Solicitor General had asked the court to dismiss the petition.
The Supreme Court, in its ruling, said that while it “recognized the protracted history of discrimination and marginalization faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, intersex, and other gender and sexual minorities (LGBT) community, along with their still ongoing struggle for equality; and acknowledged that same-sex couples may morally claim that they have a right against discrimination for their choice of relationships, official recognition of their partnerships may, for now, be a matter that should be addressed to Congress.”
The Court said that “judicial adjudication entails ruling, either in the affirmative or in the negative, on issues propelled by actual controversies.”
It said that it was only through “the existence of actual facts and real adversarial presentations that this Court can fully weigh the implications and consequences of its pronouncements.”
The high court said that “adjudication assures arguments between parties with respect to the existence and interpretation of fundamental freedoms.”
It said that legislation “ideally allows public democratic deliberation on the various ways to assure these fundamental rights.”
“The process of legislation exposes the experiences of those who have been oppressed, ensuring that this be understood by those who are with the majority. Often public reason needs to be first shaped through the crucible of campaigns and advocacies within our political forum be sharpened for judicial fiat,” it said.
The 15-man court also warned petitioners-lawyers against any grandstanding in filing the case as they would be cited for indirect contempt.
“Falcis and his co-counsels, lawyers Darwin P. Angeles, Keisha Trina M. Guangko, Christopher Ryan R. Maranan (are) liable for indirect contempt.”
The Court said that “to forget the bare rudiments of court procedure and decorum, purport to know them, but really, only to exploit them by way of propaganda and then, to jump headlong into the taxing endeavor of profession, is a contemptuous betrayal of the high standards of the legal.”
“What we do in the name of the public interest should be the result of collective decision coming from well-thought-out strategies of the movement in whose name we bring a case before this Court.”
The high court warned that “premature petitions filed by those who seek to see their names in our jurisprudential records may only do more harm than good.”
“Good intentions are no substitute for deliberate, conscious and responsible action. Litigation for the public interest for those who have been marginalized and oppressed deserve much more than the way that it has been handled in this case,” it said.
Falcis, in his petition, assailed Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code, which “define and limit marriage as between man and woman.”
He said that such provisions were considered discriminatory and would tend to violate homosexuals’ right “to found a family” as protected under Section 3 (1) of the 1987 Constitution.
Falcis, a Metro Manila resident and a self-confessed gay who filed the case as a taxpayer’s suit, argued that these provisions “deprive [him] and other homosexuals the right to liberty without substantive due process of law” and “deny them the equal protection of the laws” and would declare the gays and lesbians as “second class citizens.”