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New LGBT group cries foul, calls Lagman bill discriminatory

Bemz Benedito, secretary-general of KAPATID, said that House Bill 2352, introduced by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman Jr. is a bill that tries to fool the public. For Benedito, “adultery is adultery, regardless of gender. Same thing with concubinage. The Lagman measure, in fact, narrows the scope of adultery by limiting its discussion along gender lines.”

Ms Bemz Benedito PHOTO COURTESY OF BAHAGHARI CENTER

Ms Bemz Benedito
PHOTO COURTESY OF BAHAGHARI CENTER

A new organization of gays, lesbians and transgenders has slammed the effort of a neophyte lawmaker to introduce a bill that would purportedly “broaden the scope of what constitutes as adultery” in the Philippines.

Bemz Benedito, secretary-general of KAPATID, said that House Bill 2352, introduced by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman Jr. is a bill that tries to fool the public. “The bill is promoted as a broadening of the adultery law to include gays and lesbians. E ano naman ang kinalaman ng kasarian sa pangangaliwa (What does gender have to do with infidelity)?”

For Benedito, “adultery is adultery, regardless of gender. Same thing with concubinage. The Lagman measure, in fact, narrows the scope of adultery by limiting its discussion along gender lines. If it wants to be more responsive to changing times, why does it not include crisis centers for aggrieved partners? Why does it not categorically make adultery a clear ground for expelling a lawmaker in Congress?” Benedito said.

The Lagman proposed measure stated that it would plug a loophole in the Revised Penal Code on such relationships involving lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT). Benedito countered: “Baka hindi alam ni Rep. Lagman, kahit bakla o lesbiyana ay suklam na suklam din sa nangangaliwa (Maybe Rep. Lagman does not know that even gays and lesbians abhor adulterers)! If the bill really wants to broaden the scope of the law on adultery, it should just state ‘person’ instead of qualifying it according to gender. It should be worded as ‘prohibiting a married person from engaging in sexual activity with another person.’ That is genuine broadening, that is making things equal, regardless of gender.”

Benedito added that “if the married person is having a sexual relation with a person of the same sex, then the problem is not gender. It is non-disclosure. This makes the issue personal for the married couple.”

It has been reported that the Lagman bill was apparently riding on the current popularity of “My Husband’s Lover,” a TV soap where the male spouse falls in love with another man.

The group KAPATID stated that while they commended and lauded the effort of the TV network to mainstream, by way of a teleserye, stories where lead characters and main plot are centered on LGBTs, it was unfortunate that the teleserye had portrayed the gay person as deceiver and home wrecker. “Infidelity is a marital problem that cuts across gender and sexual orientation. Why point the gun at LGBTs?” Kapatid ended.

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