MANILA, Philippines— The denial of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders’ right to marry is a violation of their guaranteed right to equal protection of the law, a former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law said.
“The Family Code’s concept of marriage as a contract between a man and a woman aside from being obsolete, violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution,” Dean Pacifico Agabin said during the 11th Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair Lecture Wednesday held at the Court of Appeals auditorium.
“In my opinion to bar the lesbians, the gays, the transsexuals and homosexuals from the civil right to marry would violate the guarantee of equal protection,” Agabin said.
Agabin explained that the denial of the right to marry as far as LGBTs are concerned “also intrudes into the right to privacy which is a fundamental right.”
However, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Vitug said that while the trend worldwide is legalizing same sex marriages, the Philippines is going in the opposite direction.
“A lot of countries really have legalized this [same sex marriages] and here in the Philippines, I agree with my colleagues in the panel that it may take a while before we would be able to be in that stage,” Vitug told reporters.
“In fact, just the opposite, for instance, in the case of the bill pending in Congress, it is saying we should preserve the right of marriage between natural born male and natural born females. It may take a while before we can expect any possible changes,” he added.
Vitug, chairperson of the Philippine Judicial Academy (Philja) Commercial Law Department conducted the lecture Wednesday entitled Coping with Changing Landscape in Civil Law.
While he does not support the same sex marriage, Vitug said property relations in same sex relationships should be recognized.
“It is just being realistic about it but I guess it will take time before I could change my mind on the concept of both sexes being married,” Vitug said.
He said Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code could be extended to those in same sex relationships.
Article 147 and 148 governs property relationship between couples without the benefit of marriage.