CITY OF MALOLOS, Philippines—Love, not gender, defines a marriage, a principle expressed recently by a senator and explored by magistrates due to rapidly evolving laws.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Thursday that it was time for Filipinos to recognize the union of homosexual couples.
“For me, the law should treat the people equally whoever you are. Whatever or whoever you want, the state should allow it because it is your choice. We should no longer discuss if it is conventional or not, as long as you are a Filipino, you should be treated fairly,” Marcos said in a forum at the Bulacan State University here.
“There is nothing wrong,” he said, if the state would officially acknowledge “that there is part of this society that wants same sex marriage [to be legalized].”
But that was easier said than done, he said.
“The problem with the Philippines is that the influence of the Church is powerful. They are against same-sex marriage,” he added.
It took a decade for Congress to pass Republic Act No. 10354 (the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012), due to opposition from the Church and various conservative groups.
In Angeles City in Pampanga on Sept. 18, retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Vitug outlined how civil laws are being reshaped by a changing society, citing how the judiciary tries hard to keep things in line.
Biotechnology developments have introduced DNA evidence to courts, while the Internet has made the judiciary confront the legal ramifications of electronic contracts, Vitug said in a lecture before students of Angeles University Foundation.
But changing social norms offer similarly heavy challenges to the judicial system, Vitug said.
“The judge, rather than Congress, may be bound to first confront and tackle an issue [involving these technological and social innovations], since the dearth of enacted laws will not excuse a judge from deciding a case,” he said.
Placing a reliance on jurisprudence could become frequent because of these circumstances, he said.
However, he said, the judiciary must protect the moral good from being swept away by too many societal pressures.
“Philippine laws are veritable repositories of moral laws that provide various kinds of proscriptions against immoral conduct which, at first glance, could appear to be private and to cause no harm to larger society but [are] nevertheless dealt with by the state,” he said.
He said the family code allows a marriage contract to be entered into by a man and a woman, and not by persons of the same sex.
In October 2007, the Supreme Court, reversing a regional trial court ruling, refused to sanction a case of surgical sexual transformation, Vitug said. Ron Lopez and Justine Dizon, Inquirer Central Luzon