As Pride Month kicks off, SC debates gay marriage
Days before the annual pride march, a gay rights advocate and the government is set to face off at the Supreme Court (SC) over the bid to legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines.
The SC’s oral arguments could not have been more timely as it was scheduled to be heard in June, which is celebrated annually as Pride Month by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities across the world.
Pride month is celebrated in honor of the June 1969 Stonewall riots in the United States when members of the LGBT community staged violent demonstrations in Manhattan, New York City, against constant police harassment and social discrimination.
In 2015, amid growing clamor to recognize the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage all over the world, lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who identifies as “openly” gay, filed a petition before the SC seeking to legalize gay marriage in the Philippines.
Falcis said it was high time for the SC to act on the matter “because of the millions of LGBT Filipinos all over the country who are deprived from marrying the one they want or the one they love.”
In June 2015, the US Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was a right to be enjoyed by all Americans. Days after the US high court’s decision, Falcis filed a petition before the Philippine Supreme Court hoping it will take its cue from the US high court.
READ: SC sets oral argument on same-sex marriage
Three years after Falcis filed the petition, in March 2018, the SC announced that it would hear on June 19, Tuesday, the oral arguments on the bid to scrap the prohibition of same-sex marriages.
Falcis is set to argue that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is tantamount to deprivation of life and liberty without due process of law, among other arguments.
Named as respondent in Falcis’ petition is the Civil Registrar General. Petitioners-in-intervention are LGBTS Christian Church Inc., Reverend Crescencio “Ceejay” Agbayani Jr., Marlon Felipe and Maria Arlyn “Sugar” Ibanez, while lawyer Fernando Perito is the intervenor.
The oral arguments were set by the SC en banc at 2 p.m. At the same time, LGBT groups and supporters will converge outside the high court for a rally in support of same-sex marriage.
“During the rally, we will be singing songs and chanting slogans that celebrate our being a family. We will hold a mass renewal or taking of vows for LGBT couples that will be attending, especially those of you that have already undergone Holy Union. Afterwards, we will hold candle lighting and a vigil,” the LGBTS Christian Church Inc. said in a statement. /cbb
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