Same-sex couples to challenge marriage ban at SC
MANILA, Philippines — For some same-sex couples in the Philippines, the main obstruction to their “happily ever after” is the law.
In a coordinated move on Monday, same-sex couples endeavored to prove this, hying off to their respective localities’ civil registries to try to apply for a marriage license—and to be denied.
“We really felt we were rejected. It’s painful to be rejected by your own city hall,” said Crescencio Agbayani Jr., founding pastor of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Straight (LGBTS) Christian Church Inc.
Agbayani had applied for a marriage license for him and his partner for 10 years, Marlon Felipe, at the Quezon City hall, but weren’t entertained, as the government staff told him that under the law, marriage could only be between a man and a woman.
Although Agabayani had expected the rejection, he explained that the “injury” of the experience would bolster the certiorari petition he and other LGBT members would file in the Supreme Court, questioning the prohibition on same-sex marriages.
“I’m not blaming the civil registry or the city government. It’s the law that doesn’t recognize us,” Agbayani said.
“This is not an issue of religion but of equal protection. We’re also taxpayers, a part of society that needs to be recognized,” Agbayani said.
Agabayani added they would like to bolster the Supreme Court petition of lawyer Jesus Falcis, who earlier asked the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional some parts of the Family Code limiting marriage between a man and a woman.
“If that [phrase] is deleted, same sex marriages will be allowed,” said Falcis, who had accompanied Agbayani on Monday.
Agbayani’s rejection “is the actual case and controversy that the Supreme Court will look upon,” Falcis said.
“Definitely, there’s injury. These are stable, long-term committed couples, with the intention to legalize their marriage under the law” and weren’t allowed to do so, Falcis said.
Agbayani said marriage would cause him to finally be recognized as a family member or next of kin of his partner, and to be able to enjoy the benefits of taxation, adoption rights, and right to conjugal properties accorded to straight couples.
“The benefits enjoyed by straight couples, we hope to have that too,” Agbayani said. SFM (With a report from Veronica Roque, trainee)
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