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Philippines high court rejects gay marriage appeal

MANILA, Philippines (BP) — The Supreme Court of the Philippines has dismissed a petition to legalize gay marriage in the majority Catholic country, instead suggesting the nation’s Congress should address the issue.

Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, the attorney who initiated the petition in 2015 and identifies as a homosexual, had no legal standing in the case since he himself had not applied for a marriage license, the court said in its decision Tuesday (Sept. 3), the Philippine news site philstar.com reported.

The court acknowledged that the Southeast Asian nation’s 1987 Constitution does not define or restrict marriage on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, philstar.com reported. Rather, marriage is defined in the Family Code of the Philippines as a union between a man and a woman.

Whether same-sex marriage should be allowed in the Philippines “may, for now, be a matter that should be addressed by Congress,” the AFP French news agency quoted the court.

Falcis has petitioned to have Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines nullified. The articles not only prohibit marriage but also various other rights Falcis said are due same-sex couples.

Gay rights activists have vowed to continue fighting for same-sex marriage in the country where 80 percent of its 107 million people are Roman Catholic. Abortion and divorce are also illegal there.

The Roman Catholic Church has said same-sex marriage is against natural law. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who in media reports has flip-flopped on the issue, said as recently as July 2018 that he favors civil unions over same-sex marriage.

The ruling leaves Taiwan as the lone Asian nation among 28 countries where same-sex marriage is legal. In addition to the U.S., according to Pew Research, others are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England/Wales, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, certain jurisdictions in Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay.

The Southern Baptist Convention upholds biblical marriage between one man and one woman for a lifetime, as stated in Article XVIII of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message based on Scripture.