Category: Society

Who would push for marriage equality in Philippine courts?

By JESUS FALCIS

NOTE: This is a guest post. It may or may not reflect my own views.

A week ago, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a California initiative amending the state constitution in 2008, and the Defense of the Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law passed in 1996. Both laws restrict marriage to a man and a woman.

In the Philippines, the Family Code, issued by President Corazon Aquino in 1987 when she still had legislative powers, defines marriage as a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman. However, the Constitution defines marriage merely as an inviolable social institution and as the foundation of the family.

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Tagle, papal politics, and the coming conclave.

Predicting the outcome of a conclave is like predicting who would sit in China’s Politburo during Beijing’s leadership transition. It’s purely speculative, since it’s almost impossible to determine what’s on the cardinal-electors’ mind. As in all political events, however, an educated speculation is possible if all variables are carefully examined.

For instance, while the election of Karol Cardinal Wojtyla in the second conclave of 1978 had been very surprising to most; it was, in retrospect, not that improbable. At that time, there had been a bitter battle between the reactionary clerics, led by Guiseppe Cardinal Siri, and the liberals, led by Giovanni Cardinal Benelli. This bitter rift ensured that there would have been a gridlock, since neither of the blocs could have attained the required two-thirds majority, and that a compromise candidate would have had to be found.

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Mainali case shows Japan’s justice system is flawed.

After fifteen long years, Govinda Prasad Mainali, the Nepalese man who had been wrongly incarcerated for murdering a Japanese prostitute in 1997, will finally be exonerated. But the glaring defects of the Japanese criminal justice system, perhaps the worst in the First World, will likely remain unfixed.

Mainali’s fatal mistakes were that he had been seen with the victim ten days before the murder, and that a used condom bearing his semen was found at the scene of the crime. These were circumstantial evidence that could have hardly established guilt beyond reasonable doubt, which is why the Nepalese had been initially acquitted by the Tokyo District Court. But he was not immediately released; the Bureau of Immigration, instead of deporting him to Kathmandu as per standard procedure, prolonged his detention for visa violation. This enabled the prosecutors to appeal his acquittal.

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Should the principle of separation of Church and State apply to atheist groups?

NOTE: This is a guest post. It may or may not reflect my own views.

Auguste Comte, considered the father of Sociology and Positivism, proposed in his “Law of Three Stages” that societal development undergoes three stages: (1) Theological, where nature and the natural phenomena are sought and understood through mythical and supernatural explanations; (2) Metaphysical, where understanding of the origin of nature and the natural phenomena was through abstract and philosophical explanation; and (3) Positivism or Scientific,  where nature and the natural phenomena are explained and understood through scientific methods and means, and invalidated abstract or supernatural concepts as an explanation. For Comte, the third stage is the pinnacle of the development of human society.

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Militant secularism in Western Europe.

In response to a landmark case in the European Court of Human Rights involving two British women who were dismissed by their employers for wearing crucifix while working, the government of the United Kingdom is set to argue that Christians have no right to wear the crucifix at work. British ministers will point out that since wearing of the said symbol is not a requirement of the Christian faith, the right to wear it cannot be invoked against the right of employers to set out a uniform policy that bans the wearing of the said symbol.

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