by Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sep 4, 2019
MANILA, Philippines — While recognizing that same-sex couples have a right against discrimination, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed as “premature” a petition that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage, and castigated the petitioners for using the issue to pull a publicity stunt.
“Premature petitions filed by those who seek to see their names in our jurisprudential records may only do more harm than good,” read a portion of the Supreme Court decision written by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
“Good intentions are not substitute for deliberate, conscious and responsible action. 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,” the ruling said.
The high court said that it could not rule on the petition because the lawyers who filed it did not cite any actual case of controversy, nor were they representing anyone denied a legally recognized marriage with someone of the same sex.
“It is only through the existence of actual facts and real adversarial presentations that the court can fully weigh the implications and consequences of its pronouncements,” the court said in its decision.
The petitioners led by lawyer Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, who has admitted to being gay, had asked the court to nullify portions of Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code, which define marriage as “a union between a man and a woman” and to nullify portions of Articles 46 (4) and 55 (6), which include lesbianism or homosexuality as grounds for annulment and legal separation.
In its weekly full court session, the court said the petition had violated the principle of hierarchy of courts, and that the petitioners should have first appealed before a trial court.
The Supreme Court passed on to Congress the debate on whether to amend the Family Code to accommodate same-sex marriage, a highly controversial issue in a country that is predominantly Catholic.
“The process of legislation exposes the experiences of those who have been oppressed, ensuring that this be understood by those who stand with the majority,” the court said.
Falcis and cocounsels Darwin Angeles, Keisha Trina Guangko and Christopher Ryan Maranan were also cited for indirect contempt for not observing court procedure and decorum .
Falcis was found in direct contempt of the court for appearing in casual clothes — a jacket, cropped jeans and loafers without socks — during the preliminary conference on June 19, 2018, ahead of the oral arguments on June 26, 2018.