House bill penalizing LGBT discrimination OKd on second reading
Discriminating a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender may land you in jail, once this bill sees the light of day.
This after the House of Representatives has passed on second reading House Bill 4982, which prohibits and penalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression (Sogie) during plenary session on Wednesday.
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, the Philippines’ first transgender congresswoman, lauded the bill as a landmark legislation meant to criminalize discriminatory practices against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“Today marks a milestone for Equality. Today, the House of Representatives of the 17th Congress approved the Sogie Equality Bill on Second Reading,” Roman said in a statement.
Roman lauded her fellow “Equality champions” for helping in the second reading approval of the bill – Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, Diwa Rep. Emmi Aglipay-Villar – “and all those who have fought for the cause in Congress for the past 18 years.”
Roman also lauded Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, who is critical of proposals for a same sex union, for his “constructive collaboration.”
The bill entitled Sogie Equality Act penalizes the following discriminatory practices based on Sogie: denying access to public service, including military service; including Sogie as criteria for hiring, promotion, transfer, designation, work assignment, re-assignment, dismissal of workers, and other human resource movement and action; refusing admission or expelling a person from any educational or training institution on the basis of Sogie; imposing disciplinary sanctions or penalties harsher than the customary or similar punishments on the basis of Sogie; refusing recognition or accreditation to any organization based on Sogie; denying a person access to public or private medical and other health services open to general public; denying application for or revoking a professional license, clearance or certification.
The bill also penalizes denying a person access to establishments, facilities or utilities, including housing; forcing a person to undergo medical or psychological tests to alter one’s Sogie without the person’s express approval; harassment, coercion or threat in the enforcement of law on the basis of one’s Sogie;
publishing information meant to “out” a person’s Sogie; engaging in public speech to shame a person or normalize discriminatory practices against the LGBT; subjecting a person to harassment as well as gender profiling; among others.
According to the bill, a person committing a discriminatory act once convicted would be penalized with a P100,000 to P500,000 fine, or imprisonment of one to six years, based on the court’s discretion.
The court may also penalize the person who committed a discriminatory practice with community service.
The bill said discrimination based on Sogie is an “aggravating circumstance” to crimes committed under the Revised Penal Code.
In a separate statement, Bag-ao said it is high time for Congress to legislate equality based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
“Tagumpay ang pagkakapantay-pantay ngayong araw na ito. Sa pagkakapasa ng SOGIE Equality Bill sa Second Reading sa Kamara, mas malapit nang maisakatuparan ang ating pinapangarap at ipinaglalaban. Kapag tuluyan nang naisabatas ito, matitiyak nating maipagtatanggol natin ang batayang mga karapatan ng bawat tao, anuman ang kanyang sexual orientation o gender identity at expression,” Bag-ao said.
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