MANILA, Philippines— A former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law said on Wednesday that it is a violation of the law to deny marriage to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).
Dean Pacifico Agabin spoke at the 11th Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair Lecture, entitled “Coping with Changing Landscape in Civil Law. In his speech, Agabin said that to deny members of the LGBT community the right to marry violates their guaranteed right to equal protection of the law, and “also intrudes into the right to privacy which is a fundamental right.”
“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. 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,” he stated.
Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Vitug, however, pointed out that the Philippines is far behind other countries in legalizing same sex marriages: “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.”
“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,” Vitug noted.
“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,” he added, expressing his personal views on same-sex marriage.
Despite his being non-supportive of same-sex marriage, Vitug said that property relations in same-sex relationships should be upheld, citing that Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code – which govern property relationships of unmarried couples – could be applied to those in same-sex relationships.