The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have praised a Supreme Court ruling this week rejecting a controversial petition seeking to legalize same-sex marriage.
In a unanimous September 3 decision, the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed a landmark petition to legalize same-sex marriage in the majority Catholic country.
“With the decision not to legalize same-sex marriage, our judges have ruled rightly, underscoring the natural and ethical form of marriage,” Bishop Ruperto Santos told the Rome-based Fides news agency. “The rejection of same-sex marriages reinforces the sanctity of marriage and the stability of the family in the Philippines.”
The court ruled that Jesus Nicardo Falcis III, an openly gay attorney who introduced the petition in 2015, had no legal standing in the case since he had not applied for a marriage license.
Falcis was seeking to have Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code declared unconstitutional. The Family Code defines marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman.”
The court’s ruling called the petition “premature,” insisting that the issue should be discussed in the legislative session of the Philippine Congress, rather than decided by the courts.
Several Filipino bishops offered comments following the decision, reiterating that homosexual relationships cannot be equated with marriage, neither religious nor civil.
Bishop Arturo Bastes, of the diocese of Sorsogon, described the attempt to impose same-sex marriage as “immoral,” and praised the Supreme Court for defending the “true nature of marriage.”
Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila, called the court’s decision “a favorable development for the country,” adding that he hopes “lawmakers will give weight to strengthening families rather than weakening them” should the matter come before Congress.
“The Supreme Court ruling is commendable,” said Catholic lay leader, Mary Jane Castillo. “Marriage has always been between a man and a woman, according to natural law. And the legislation of the Philippines follows that provision.”