YAY for Monday: SOGIE Bill Is Now a Priority Legislation in Congress!
by Maria Romero, August 06, 2018 4:12pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
Finally, after more than 19 years, a bill protecting a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) is now priority legislation in 17th Congress. After being hung up in the Senate for the 600th day today for interpellation, the bill is once again in the national legislative agenda to #EndTheDebate.
While we must continue to exercise vigilance over the brewing political crisis, we must not let it distract us from ensuring the passage of measures that will benefit our people. pic.twitter.com/iXzCl3NYiy— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) July 27, 2018
House Bill No. 4982 otherwise known as the “SOGIE Equality Bill” was first filed in the 11th Congress by the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and then Akbayan Party-list Representative Etta Rosales. This 17th Congress, it is coming to fruition with the collective efforts of Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Diwa Party List Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, and Dinagat Islands Representative Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao. Sen. Risa Hontiveros has also filed a Senate version—Senate Bill No. 1271.
While the bill has to hurdle the Senate, its ratification in the House is already a victory for the LGBTQIA+ Community.
Avisala, mga diwata! âœ¨— Vince Liban #EndTheDebate ðŸ³ï¸ðŸŒˆ (@vinceliban) July 23, 2018
May paandar tayo today, July 23, 8pm, bilang hanash sa #SONA2018. Show ur support for the SOGIE Equality Bill to be put in the national legislative agenda.
This is a reminder that Love always wins and so #LoveIsAllWeNeed. ðŸŒˆ
RT for good luck charot! ðŸ˜˜ pic.twitter.com/EZzPmseRpw
Now with only six sessions left before Senate goes to recess, LGBTQIA+ community and allies are in for #LoveIsAllWeNeed movement calling the attention of the legislators who initially showed opposition in the bill including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Sen. Joel Villanueva.
What is SOGIE and why does it need to be passed into law?
There are existing police desks to attend to complaints regarding women and children but none to accommodate charges against members of the rainbow community—and that’s what SOGIE bill is about.
The bill is meant to fulfill the equal protection clause set forth in the 1987 constitution ensuring that LGBTQIA+ rights are also protected in as much as everyone’s is. Moreover, the bill also pushes for the recognition and non-discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ members as written under international law particularly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The bill states that it only seeks to prohibit certain acts that discriminate against members of the LGBTQIA+ community on basis of SOGIE such as:
- Hiring and/or firing a person
- Admission or expulsion from any educational or institution
- Revocation of accreditation, formal recognition of institutions, workplaces, and other settings
- Denial of access to private or public medical attention
- Revocation of professional or other similar kinds of license, clearance certification or any other similar document issued by the government
- Denial of access to or the use of establishments, facilities, utilities or services open to the general public
- Enforcement to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine and/or alter a person’s SOGIE
- Harassment by members of institutions involved in the enforcement of law and the protection of human rights of any person
- Publishing information intending to “out” a person’s SOGIE and engaging in a public speech intended to shame or ridicule queer persons
Those convicted of discriminating against a person as mandated in the bill shall be fined not less than 100,000php but not more than 500,000php, or be imprisoned for less than one year but not more than six years. According to Bag-ao, the court can also impose community service upon erring people in the form of human rights education and familiarization with and exposure to victims' plight.
The bill in itself is only pushing to end discrimination among LGBTQIA+ people—nothing more, nothing less. This is contrary to religious lawmakers' fear that the bill is setting a dangerous precedent in possibly charging individuals who are just standing up for their beliefs.
The bill’s sponsors have repeatedly emphasized that the bill is not masquerading a provision on same-sex marriages.
This fight to #EndTheDebate has been long and winding. People have been lamenting it's long overdue. With many opposing forces weighing in on the debate, the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies are nothing but hopeful to finally live in a country that doesn’t discriminate because #LoveIsAllWeNeed and #LoveIsLove.
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