Since 2001 it has been possible in the Netherlands for two men or two women to marry. There are certain differences, however, between same-sex marriage and marriage between a man and a woman. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to create the possibility for two men or two women to marry. Since then, over 15,000 gay couples have married. Today, same-sex marriage is possible in nine other countries besides the Netherlands. The state of New York recently passed a law that legalizes same-sex marriages. That means gay and lesbian couples could marry, with legal protection ordinarily granted to male-female couples.
NY is the latest US state that allows same-sex marriage. Also recently, we’ve seen Filipino gay and lesbian couples getting married in the Philippines, re-sparking the debate on same-sex marriage. These individuals may have undergone such a ceremony to express their love and commitment to one another. They may have done it to rekindle the debate. They may have other reasons, but it could NOT include seeking legal protection and benefits that flow from marriage. Philippine laws do not recognize and protect same-sex marriage. It doesn’t matter which religion you belong.
Unlike certain matters — divorce, for instance, which is allowed for the Muslim community — the legal non-recognition of same-sex marriage applies to all groups and religions. “Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. ” This is part of the definition provided in Section 1 of the Family Code. The Supreme Court stated in a 2007 case that one of the most sacred social institutions is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman, referring to the institution of marriage.
One of its essential requisites of marriage is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female. The SC also noted that allowing a change of name by reason of a sex reassignment surgery (sex change) “will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual)”. In our previous post Mr. Lito Basilio submits that “same-sex marriage may be allowed under exceptional circumstances. Art. 6 of the Family Code recognizes as valid in the Philippines those marriage solemnized abroad and are valid there as such, except for marriages forbidden under Art. 35(1), (4), (5) and (6) and Art. 36, 37 and 38 of the Family Code. ” The argument makes sense because none of the provisions cited — Art. 35(1), (4), (5) and (6) and Art. 36, 37 and 38 of the Family Code — prohibit same-sex marriage. This might lead some couples to go abroad, perhaps New York or some other states/countries that recognize same-sex marriage, and have it recognized here in the Philippines.
However, the Family Code provides in no uncertain terms that the couple must be a “man and a woman”. While a same-sex marriage is allowed in other jurisdictions, it cannot be recognized here because it is contrary to law, public order and public policy. Discussion President Obama recently declared his support for same-sex marriage. This will undoubtably affect the results of the US elections – but exactly how, is anyone’s guess. The same-sex marriage issue has changed a lot in the US since 2004, when George Bush succesfully painted John Kerry as pro-same-sex marriage, and won the election.
One effect of Obama’s declaration has hit the Romney campaign. Bill White, a prominent gay supporter of Romney, withdrew his support and demanded to get his contribution back. He said that Romeny had “chosen to be in the wrong side of history”. He is now supporting Obama. Prime Minister Cameron of the UK declared that his support of same-sex marriage is not despite his being a conservative, but because he is a conservative. Cameron makes an important point. Same-sex marriage is in reality a conservative demand.
In an era when many people have divorces, and others decide to forego getting married in the first place; gays want to get married – and commit themselves to abide by societal conventions in the process. While same-sex marriage is not yet an immediate concern for the Philippines, it raises points which are already relevant. Among these would be the question of what to do with gays who do form lasting relationships. Even from a purely legal point of view, it would be a lot more convenient if gay couples could get into something like a ‘registered partnership’ if only for matters like inheritance, medical decisions etc.
At the same time, there should be some changes in the legal status of some heterosexual relationships. Under the principle that “consenting adults who love each other should be allowed to marry”, the country would need to pass a Divorce Law. And, together with this, there would need to be a law that allows unmarried couples who live together to formalize their relationship. The issue of same-sex marriage also affects the public discourse about gays. Previously, gay rights meant that it is wrong to beat up gays, or to refuse to hire them.
Gay rights includes their right to lead a ‘normal’ life, including marriage. The case of Manny Pacquiao’s comments against same-sex marriage illustrates this point. He was quickly painted as being anti-gay, when all he said was that he was against same-sex marriage. Why? Because now, gay rights include the recognition of same-sex couples, and giving them equivalent rights to heterosexual couples. Pacquiao upheld the old version of gay rights. There could also be an effect on the nature of same-sex relationships themselves.
Today, a lot of same-sex couples in the Philippines mimic heterosexual relationships in the sense that one takes on a ‘male’ role, while the other a ‘female’ role. The development of ideas about same-sex marriage will challenge this ‘quasi-hetero’ arrangement. Same-sex partners would then increasingly adopt ‘unisex’ roles. The whole idea that gays make up a ‘third sex’ should also fade as a result of the discourse on same-sex marriage. With the ‘third sex’ idea, some men claim that they are not gay because they take on the male role in a gay relationship, which is perfectly logical in a ‘third sex’ framework.
But with same-sex marriage, the relationship is simply between two men, or two women. Review of related literature The movement to open civil marriage to same-sex couples achieved its first temporary success in 1993 with the decision of the Hawaii Supreme Court that the restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples would be presumed unconstitutional unless the state could demonstrate that it furthered a compelling state interest. In response to this decision the state constitution was amended to allow the legislature to preserve that restriction.
A similar court decision in Alaska in 1998 led to an even stronger constitutional amendment, itself defining marriage as between one man and one woman. In further reaction to the Hawaii case, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (1996) provided that no state would be required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state, and also defined marriage for federal-law purposes as opposite-sex. The majority of the states also passed their own “marriage protection acts. ” (In November 2004, eleven more U. S. states amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage. In Vermont, after that state’s Supreme Court held in 1999 that the state must extend to same- sex couples the same benefits that married couples receive, the legislature in 2000 created the status of “civil union” to fulfill that mandate. Connecticut adopted a similar civil union law in 2005. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to open civil marriage to same-sex couples. Belgium became the second in 2003. In 2002 through 2004, courts in six Canadian provinces held that the opposite-sex definition of marriage was contrary to Canada’s Charter of Rights, and in 2005 federal legislation extended same-sex marriage to all of Canada.
Same-sex marriage was also legalized in Spain in 2005 , in South Africa in 2006, in Norway and Sweden effective in 2009, and in Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina effective in 2010. In November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that excluding same-sex couples from the benefits of civil marriage violated the state constitution, and in February 2004 that court further held that a “civil union” law would not be sufficient, and on May 17, 2004 Massachusetts ecame the first state in the United States where same-sex marriage per se is legal. In July 2006, opposite-sex definitions of marriage were upheld by the highest courts of both New York and Washington; likewise in Maryland in 2007. In October 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The Legislature complied with that decision by enacting a civil union act in December 2006.
In May 2008, California became the second state to legalize same-sex marriage when the California Supreme Court held that laws restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples were unconstitutional. Connecticut followed suit in October 2008. In California, the Supreme Court decision was overturned by voter initiative in the November 2008 election, but that initiative was held unconstitutional by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in February 2012. In 2009, same-sex marriage was legalized in Iowa by decision of its Supreme Court, and in Vermont, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia by legislation.
New York’s Marriage Equality Act was enacted in June 2011. The states of Maryland and Washington legalized same-sex marriage by statute in 2012. Significance of the problem Should same-sex marriage be legalized in the Philippines? The significance of the problem is that we can be more aware on the happenings in our country’s issue that echoes throughout humanities. It helps us understand deeply the different perspective of every individual. As part of the whole, I should make actions that can able to utilize the problem.
Every individual has their own perspective towards the issue. However, we are living in a democratic country thus, everyone has a right to choose whether they will oppose or agree. All throughout, I must respect the opinion of every individual because you are the one who defines morality. What moral to you may not moral to me, thus everyone must bear in mind that whatever decision we make, it must come from the heart and I should say that the problem does not lies within the problem itself, but to the man himself—his choice and perspective.