Here’s some sad yet unsurprising news for our LGBTQ+ community and allies. Yesterday, the Supreme Court (SC) junked a petition legalizing same-sex marriage in the country, saying it’s a matter best addressed by Congress.
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Back in 2015, Atty. Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, a young openly gay lawyer, filed the petition for same-sex marriage. He wanted to nullify the Family Code of the Philippines, the legislation defining and limiting marriage as an act between men and women. “I filed the petition because it is the very reason why I studied and took up law—to challenge unconstitutional and oppressive laws,” he told GMA news at the time.
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Public Information Chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka stated in a press conference how this petition violates the principle of hierarchy of courts just as it fails to raise an actual justifiable controversy, adding how Falcis had no legal standing for the case.
The Court also accused Falcis of filing premature petitions, claiming this does more harm than good. “The High Court recognized the protracted history of discrimination and marginalization faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, intersex and other gender and sexual minorities (LGBTQI+) community, along with their still ongoing struggle for equality,” Hosaka stated.
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“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.”
Our LGBTQ+ community has come so far. We have major cities following Anti-SOGIE Discrimination laws, our queer cinema continues to flourish, and we’re presented with more opportunities than ever. But despite all this, our country still merely tolerates the Filipino queer community—not accepts.
Transwomen are still discriminated in cities following anti-discrimination ordinances, gays and lesbians remain boxed as comic relief in noontime television, and cases of LGBTQ+-related violence continues to grow. Junking this petition is a huge setback.
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But there might be hope for same-sex unions to be legalized in Congress. “The Supreme Court acknowledged that same-sex couples may morally claim that they have a right against discrimination for their choice of relationships’ and said ‘official recognition of their partnerships may, for now, be a matter that should be addressed to Congress,” Pink News wrote in their piece.
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At the very least, it’s nice to hear that same-sex unions might be a reality. For now, the LGBTQ+ community and their allies need to continue fighting for our basic human rights.
Let this fight for same-sex unions remind us that separation of church and state exists. You know, something that bigoted Christians and close-minded individuals keep forgetting.
Still from Kasal (2014)