In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has dismissed a landmark petition to legalize same-sex marriage in the majority Catholic country.
On Tuesday, the country’s highest court ruled that Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, an openly gay attorney who initiated the petition in 2015, had no legal standing in the case since he had not applied for a marriage license, the South China Morning Post reported.
Despite its decision, in a text released to journalists, the court noted the Southeast Asian nation’s 1987 Constitution “does not define, or restrict, marriage on the basis of … sexual orientation, or gender identity” and said that same-sex unions “may, for now, be a matter that should be addressed to Congress.”
Falcis, who added a gay and a lesbian couple to his petition in 2016, sought to declare Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code unconstitutional. These provisions limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
The high court also held Falcis and his co-counsels Darwin Angeles, Keisha Trina Guangko and Christopher Maranan liable for indirect contempt, the Philippine news site philstar.com reported.
The court explained that “[t]o forget [the bare rudiments of court procedure and decorum] – or worse, to purport to know them, but really, only to exploit them by way of propaganda – and then, to jump headlong into the taxing endeavor of constitutional litigation is a contemptuous betrayal of the high standards of the legal profession.”
Declaring the decision “disheartening,” Falcis, along with other gay rights activists, have vowed to continue fighting for same-sex marriage in the country where 80% of its 107 million people are Roman Catholic, according to philstar.com. Abortion and divorce are both illegal in the country, due in part to resistance from the Catholic Church.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett