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Same Sex Marriage essay
The "church marriage" of a young and pretty TV series character actress to a Chinese-Filipina lesbian somewhere in 2003 stunned the local movie industry and the whole country into suspended animation. This union that took place in the US sent shivers to numerous members of orthodox religious groups, brought forth raised eyebrows from the highly conservative Filipino female population and elicited sneers and sarcastic grins from the multitude of exceedingly insecure Filipino males. On the other side of the coin, the marriage ceremony earned the cheers and nods of the lesbian community and the emerging crowd of female bi-sexuals in the Philippines. But more than the diversified reactions drawn out from various social clusters, it coincidentally sparked-off debate from everyone who has his/her own view of its legality and triggered passionate deliberations as far as its ethical ramifications were concerned.
LEGITIMATE OR NOT?
On the question of its legitimacy and validity, the marriage was categorically and unquestionably a violation of the articles and provisions of the country's fundamental law. In so far as the Civil Code of the Philippines is concerned, an essential requisite of marriage is that the contracting parties must be a male and a female. Chapter 1, Article 2 stipulates that "no marriage shall be valid, unless these essential requisites are present: (1) legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female, and (2) consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer."
From this proviso and the way it's being worded, it is unmistakably clear that the fundamental law of the land recognizes unions between a male and a female ONLY (take note of the word "must" in the statement, this connotes MANDATORY condition not OPTIONAL).
Aside from this particular clause, the law clearly elucidates the concept of marriage and expounds on its importance as a basic institution in Filipino society. A segment of Article 1 (Chapter 1) states: "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……provided by this code."
What does the phrase "for the establishment of conjugal and family life" signify? It implies begetting of children, the start of a family. If a union is composed of two males or two females, how can the purpose of reproduction, a major goal of marriage (traditionally speaking of course) be achieved? For the erudite among us, for the tenacious practitioners of unconventionality and for those who have an obsessed hatred for authority - artificial insemination and child adoption are the obvious answers to counter this particular legal clause. Frankly, yes, these remedies can be applied, but, that is another story.
But these are not the only legal basis for the couple's marriage to be rendered illegal and unconstitutional. There were some who said that the union was OK because the women got married in another country (USA), therefore, they are no longer bound and accountable by Philippine laws.
The Civil Code's law on territoriality will work against this defense. The ruling says, "laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad." This means that wherever a Filipino is, Philippine law shall govern her with respect to her family rights and duties, status, condition and legal capacity. In the case of this couple, they were still governed by the laws of the Philippines although they were outside of its territorial perimeters. The only argument that can offset this is if they have renounced their citizenship. In that particular circumstance, at the time of marriage, they were still citizens of the Philippines and hence bound by the laws of the land.
MORALITY ISSUE, ON THE ROCKS?
OK, same-sex marriage is illegal, it's unconstitutional. But what about its moral implications? Is being "married" or having sex or loving someone of the same sex immoral, wicked and an evidence of a decadent lifestyle? Or of a weakening value-system among us?
The concept of morality has always been a grey area for almost everyone anywhere in the world; this is precisely the reason why morality issues, of whatever nature, have remained vastly controversial. But why do people stick together even when their union happens to go against traditional or accepted principles? What is the very foundation of relationships and why do two people stay together through thick and thin, in hell or high water, in sickness and in health and seems to be afflicted with the proverbial "you and me against the world" syndrome?
Love. This is the biggest factor why two people stick together or are drawn to stay with each other. Admittedly, there are other reasons why people form relationships but love is the prime mover and the chief motivator and instigator for two people to be bonded and glued to each other. Gender, this writer believes, has no place in a universal and in an abstract concept like love or emotions.
When you say "I love you" to someone it means you feel something good for that person or that you want to be with that person every moment of your life or that you feel special whenever you are with that person. That particular feeling is actually an "idea" that possesses no discriminating eyes telling you that the entity you are directing your affections to is a man or a woman. Gender is incidental.
When a woman feels love towards her boyfriend, that warmth or fondness is aimed at and intended for the other INDIVIDUAL, and that individual just happened to be a man. In short, real love knows no bounds - time, distance, race, religion, political beliefs, economic and social designation, and gender, most specially, should not be used as boundaries in the honest expression of emotions, specifically love. When one is in love and has plunged into an "understanding" with someone of the same sex, it doesn't make her less of a person; it doesn't make her decadent, profligate and wicked. It doesn't make her a criminal. It only means that she followed the dictates or her heart and conscience and is willing to be accountable for the actions she has committed.
NO USE ROCKING THE BOAT
For all intents and purposes, this paper is not trying to convince anyone that it is time to flaunt and shout to the whole world that you are in a same-sex relationship. Although it can be observed that in recent years, there has been a drastic change in people's outlooks and lifestyles in the Philippines, it cannot be denied that we are still an exceedingly conformist society composed of extremely religious people, parading and showing-off oneself as someone to be in this kind of relationship is unthinkable, and if one really "solemnizes" it just like what the two women did makes the idea more outrageous and unforgivable.
But neither does this piece say that one needs to be a slave of culture, follow the dictates of society or that other people must decide for you. It is not declaring that people's opinions must be the sole factor on how you should conduct your life in this world. The point being made here is that since we are in a social order where certain unconventional acts can touch the sensibilities or might hurt people we hold dearly in our lives (family and close friends) we do not necessarily have to "rock the boat." Meaning, if you are in love with someone belonging to the same sex, so be it. That's your prerogative, that's your choice, but torridly kissing her in public is a totally different matter.
Hypocrisy is not what this paper is advocating. It's talking about being honest with one's self and being true to one's convictions but at the same time taking responsibility for one's actions. We should all remember that to feel love for someone is a right and a choice. In a world full of pretence, double-standards, duplicity, insincerity and most of the times senseless rules, we have to stand out and assert ourselves in order to be true. Yes, anyone can criticize us, anyone can castigate and anyone can chastise us to no end for it is their right. But give judgment? NO WAY. No one in this world has the right to judge a fellow human being and nobody should give prescriptions on how one should live her life. Giving judgment is a terrain that belongs only to God.
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