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Philippines Supreme Court rejects ‘with finality’ last bid for same-sex marriage in damning blow to the community

Emma Powys Maurice January 7, 2020
Philippines

Members of the Filipino LGBT+ community light candles as they take part in a rally in front of the Supreme Court in Manila (Ted ALJIBE/AFP/Getty)

The Philippines Supreme Court has rejected “with finality” a last bid for marriage equality and denied the possibility of a reversal of its decision.

The push for same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic country was led by a young, openly gay Filipino lawyer named Jesus Falcis. He first petitioned the Supreme Court in 2015, arguing that the current legislation was a violation of his rights.

In September the court threw out the case on technical grounds because of Falcis’ “lack of standing, violating the principle of hierarchy of courts, and failing to raise an actual, justiciable controversy”.

In spite of this, LGBT+ advocates in the Philippines remained hopeful as the tribunal acknowledged the “protracted history of discrimination and marginalisation” faced by the LGBT+ community in its judgement, suggesting that same-sex unions could instead be legalised by Congress.

This hope has now been crushed as the High Court rejected an appeal “with finality”.

The ruling announced on Monday stated that the court has “resolved to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration as no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision”. It adds that no further pleadings or motions will be entertained.

House deputy speaker Eddie Villanueva, who is also the founder of the Christian group Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide, spoke in praise of the court’s decision, indicating that it is unlikely to be reversed at any point in the near future.

“The Supreme Court decision is a welcome development to us. It reaffirms our belief that we are in the right path when we stand to defend that marriage is just and must be confined between man and woman. It is not only the divine will of God, it is also the standing spirit and will of the laws of our land,” he said.

He continued: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution in Filipino life, has always been conceived between a man and a woman. Hence, to nullify such law which bears our values on marriage is tantamount to denying our identity as a people and betraying our deep-held morals. It is not only against God, it is also against ourselves as a people.”

 

More: Jesus Falcis, Manila, marriage equality, Philippines, same sex marriage

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