Same-Sex Marriage and the Law

Nowadays, there has been so much clamor for the so-called ‘marriage equality’ by LGBT or homosexual activists. They claim that because normal heterosexual people have the right under the law to marry whom ever they want, then homosexuals should likewise have the legal right to ‘marry’ their same-sex partners. To this end, they lobby for the amendment of the Family Code of the Philippines which defines marriage as “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” (Article 1). LGBT activists claim that such a definition is a violation of their basic human right to equality in the eyes of the law because there should be no distinction between heterosexuals and homosexuals when it comes to the right to marry. As with all other proponents of sinful immorality, they use euphemisms such as ‘marriage equality,’ ‘freedom of choice,’ and the like in order to deceive the general populace that their advocacy is good and just. To correct and clarify what “equality under the law” truly means, let us look at the Right to Equal Protection as enshrined in the Bill of Rights under 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Article III, Section 1 provides that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” This Constitutional provision deals with two fundamental rights. The first part of this provision deals with the right to due process while the second part deals with the right to the equal protection of the laws. The Supreme Court held in the case of Ichong v. Hernandez (G.R. No. L-7995; May 31, 1957), “equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed.”

However, according to respected Constitutional Law professor Isagani A. Cruz, it is not enough that the members of a group have the characteristics that distinguish them from others. The classification must, as an indispensable requisite, not be arbitrary. Citing the case of People v. Cayat (68 Phil. 12), this classification must conform to the following requirements:

  1. It must be based upon substantial distinctions;

  2. It must be germane to the purposes of the law;

  3. It must not be limited to existing conditions only; and

  4. It must apply equally to all members of the same class.

First, the distinction, to be valid, must be substantial. Certain physical differences can in some instances be the basis of a valid classification. Thus, women, being generally weaker, may be treated more tenderly by the law than men in specifying work conditions; height and weight are allowable criteria for purposes of certain public employments, as in the police force; health may be considered in the curtailment of some rights, as where lepers are segregated from the rest of the community; age may be a factor in the imposition of public duties such as military service or the granting of certain privileges under the senior citizen law. Surely, physical differences between men and women were taken into account in the case of Philippine Association of Service Exporters v. Drilon (163 SCRA 386) when the Supreme Court held that Filipino female domestics working abroad were in a class by themselves, because of the special risks to which their class was exposed. In addition, the accepted difference in physical stamina between men and women will justify the prohibition of the latter from employment as miners or stevedores or in any other heavy or strenuous work. On the basis of this same classification, however, the law cannot provide for a lower passing average for women in the bar examinations because physical strength is not the test for admission to the legal profession. With regard to marriage, men and women were designed to complement each other. This is obvious through a simple analysis of their sexual organs in that the male penis, protruding as it is, is designed to be inserted into the female vagina and such marital sexual intercourse results in pleasure due to the presence of sensitive nerve endings in the glans penis and clitoris. Moreover, the same may also result in procreation as when the male spermatozoa fertilizes the female ovum. Another distinction lies in the chromosomes of the males and females. Males have an XY chromosome while females possess an XX chromosome. However, all these are substantial distinctions are absent in homosexual relationships thus defeating the very God-given purposes of the institution of marriage, which is the second requirement of a valid classification, i.e. that it must be germane to the purpose of the law, which is “the establishment of conjugal and family life.”

The third requirement for a valid classification is that it must not be limited to existing conditions only. In People v. Cayat (68 Phil. 12), the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the law prohibiting members of non-Christian tribes from drinking liquor, on the ground that their low degree of culture and unfamiliarity with the drink rendered them more susceptible to its effects. As for marriage, the above-discussed distinctions between men and women are ingrained in their very being since the time of Adam and Eve and until the end of the ages.

The fourth and last requirement is that it must apply equally to all members of the same class. Thus, a sterile woman would still be entitled to the benefits of a law protecting the reproductive functions of her sex, such as one prohibiting women from work requiring them to be continuously on her feet. Her inability to bear children does not make her any less of a woman. Although both men and women belong to the human race, they belong to different classes of humans, namely, male and female.

As the differences between men and women are manifestly substantial and valid, the prohibition of same-sex marriage is surely constitutional and not a violation of basic human rights. The apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians posits that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (4:4). The gospel of Jesus Christ and the acceptance of the truths thereof requires repentance, which simply means the ‘changing of one’s mind’ with regard to the person and work of Christ and those things that please God. It is one thing to fall into sin or even a sinful lifestyle but another thing to promote the same. The former deserves love, acceptance, help and prayer, while the latter deserves condemnation. As I conclude, I leave you with the words of St. Paul to his young disciple Timothy: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

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