Lex Rex Ph

Falcis vs. Civil Registrar General

Facts

Atty Jesus Falcis is an openly-gay lawyer who prayed that Articles 1 and 2 of the Family Code be declared null and void on the ground that it violates the right to equal protection of the LGBT community under the Constitution.

Issues and Ruling

Should Articles 1, 2, 46(4) and 55(6) of the Family Code be declared unconstitutional?

No. To rule otherwise will have far-reaching consequences that will extend beyond the provisions and even the Family Code. For example, it will affect the adoption of surnames of husbands by the wives, artificial insemination of the husband or the donor, property relations between spouses, sex-specific crimes, labor laws and remedial laws.

Is the Civil Registrar a proper party?

In other words, is there an actual case or controversy between the parties wherein a fundamental right of the petitioner (i.e. the LGBT community) may have been violated by the respondent Civil Registrar? No.

Falcis argues that he can implead the Civil Registrar General through Rule 65 petition (grave abuse of discretion). The Court said that it is improper because the latter’s task is merely ministerial, no discretion made. It was also not involved in the formulation of the Family Code nor limited marriage to opposite sexes. It is within the province of the Congress alone.

Falcis also quotes the separate concurring opinion of Justice Puno in Ang Ladlad case citing the unequal treatment of the LGBTQ community in the society. However, the Court does not recognize it because it is a different case, of different facts, different subject matter, different law, and a different government body. There are no actual facts and cannot be imported here. Court also says that even first year law students know that separate opinions have no binding effect.

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