Why gay marriage petition failed to hurdle Supreme Court

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2019 02:47 PM

MANILA – Outgoing Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said Wednesday a gay marriage advocate would have had a better chance of convincing the Supreme Court to rule in his favor had he applied for a marriage license.

The Supreme Court en banc, in a unanimous 15-0 vote Tuesday, dismissed lawyer Jesus Falcis’ petition to declare certain provisions of the Family Code unconstitutional for limiting the definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman.

Bersamin said that Falcis did not have the legal standing because he did not suffer any injury and there was no actual controversy.

"It could not be avoided that he would be asked if he had applied for the marriage license and was denied because he's a self-proclaimed gay. If he had done that and his application would have been denied, it would have given more justiciability to his case. But then we found out that he did not even bother to apply for that license," Bersamin said.

"May controversy lang naman dyan kung natamaan ka. Hindi siya natamaan," he said.

(There’s only controversy if you are affected. He was not affected.)

Bersamin said the ruling on the Falcis petition could not be considered as a precedent "because there is no case" to begin with.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who penned the decision, said the plain text of the Constitution does not define or restrict marriage on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, based on excerpts quoted in a SC media briefer.

He also said the Court recognized the history of discrimination and marginalization faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer, intersex, and other gender and sexual minorities (LGBTQI+) and their struggle for equality but said official recognition of their partnerships should be addressed to Congress.

Falcis said the Supreme Court ruling was a "temporary setback" and that "history will be the ultimate judge"

"The petitioners had hoped to win but we expected that we would lose. We already consider as a victory the fact that the Supreme Court held oral arguments last year and we thank the SC for the opportunity to educate the public," he said.