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Pres. Marcos should certify SOGIE anti-discrimination bills as priority – EnGendeRights

On the occasion of the State of the Nation Address this July 25, EnGendeRights is calling on President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to certify the sexual orientation, gender identity, expression (SOGIE) Anti-Discrimination Bill and Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill as priority bills to be passed into law to stop discrimination and violence against LGBTQIA people.

“All over the Philippines, countless LGBTQIA people suffer discrimination and are subjected to hate crimes. Indeed, this is cause for alarm and signals the urgency to pass the SOGIE Anti-Discrimination Law and the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Law to prohibit all types of discrimination and violence against LGBTQIA people and promote equality of LGBTQIA people,” said Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, executive director of EnGendeRights. 

For Padilla, this is also a cause for grave concern, particularly since “the national SOGIE Anti-Discrimination Law has not been passed into law despite the lapse of over 23 years since the first anti-discrimination bill was first filed in 1999.  This delayed passage of the law clearly shows a society that has failed to stand up for the rights of LGBTQIA people.  It is time that our national laws clearly provide protection of LGBTQIA people against discrimination and violence otherwise LGBTQIA people will continue to suffer human rights violations with impunity and the Philippines will continually fall short of complying with its obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights of LGBTQIA people.”

For Padilla, “we need the SOGIE Anti-Discrimination Bills to be passed into law to explicitly prohibit discrimination and abuses against LGBTIQ people and provide effective remedies and affirmative actions. When passed into law, the SOGIE Anti-Discrimination law prohibits violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, prejudice,[1] killings,[2] torture, arbitrary arrest, and deprivation of political, economic, social, and cultural rights based on SOGIE. It will ensure the right to equality and non-discrimination in all fields including in employment, education, adequate housing, among others, and mandate the conduct of education to uphold the rights of LGBTQIA people.”

Padilla admitted that there are people, including politicians, who oppose pro-LGBTQIA policies. But for her, “those who oppose the bills condemn ‘active homosexuals’ instead of advocating for respect for human rights and justice… are complicit in propagating discrimination against LGBTQIA people.  Discrimination on the basis of SOGIE cannot be justified in the name of one’s morality and religious beliefs. Oppressive beliefs, discrimination, hatred and abuses against LGBTQIA people do not have a place in this world where there should be equality, respect, diversity and inclusion.”

Also, “our constitution guarantees separation of church and state and non-establishment of religion to prohibit the establishment of religion in our law and to guard against the views of any majority or minority religion in influencing our laws.  Our constitutional guarantee of non-establishment of religion is significant to uphold the right of all persons to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

In the end, “enacting these laws brings us closer to ending discrimination and hate crimes against LGBTIQ people towards a humane and just society where people respect the rights of LGBTIQ people.  Let us fight for a world that is truly free and equal where there is equality, respect, diversity and inclusion,” Padilla ended.

[1] Joint Statement of States before the UN General Assembly, December 18, 2008; See also the Human Rights Council First Resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, June 17, 2011 (L9/rev.1)

[2] See UN General Assembly Resolution passed in December 2010 which included a provision protecting LGBTs from extrajudicial executions based on sexual orientation. 

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