The Philippine government should not use religion to oppose the passage of laws protecting and affirming the human rights of LGBTQIA people and of abused women to divorce, otherwise this violates the constitutional guarantee of non-establishment of religion.
This is according to Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, executive director of EnGendeRights, as she criticized the Philippine delegation to the Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council that rejected calls to pass the long-delayed anti-discrimination bill, marriage equality, and divorce.
Speaking about the government’s decision to side with oppressing minority sectors, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla – who led the delegation to the UN – said that some of the recommendations are “not acceptable” in a predominantly Catholic country like the Philippines.
“The standard in governance is public and secular and not religious morality,” Padilla said, adding that “this has been held in the Supreme Court en banc cases of Ang Ladlad… and in the case upholding the constitutionality of the RH Law. The Philippine government must uphold the constitutional guarantee of non-establishment of religion and pass the laws on SOGIE Equality, Divorce and Marriage Equality.”
Particularly in the case of the SOGIE Equality Bill and marriage equality, those who oppose 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,” Padilla said.
For Padilla, “new members of the House of Representatives and Senate, with House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senate President Jose Miguel Zubiri at the helm, must lead Congress to finally pass bills (that support these) into law. They owe it to LGBTQIA people, and to abused women who need divorce.”
“Let us fight for a world that is truly free and equal where there is equality, respect, diversity and inclusion,” Padilla ended.