Senator, Jesus Is Lord heir, blamed for LGBT rights bill delay
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Joel Villanueva, son of a born again Christian group leader, is the obstacle that stands in the way of the passage by the Senate of a bill protecting the rights of gays, lesbians and transgenders in the Philippines.
At a forum on gender sensitivity in the government hosted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), panelists including Ganda Filipinas Executive Director Naomi Fontanos were asked to explain in one word why they think the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (Sogie) bill remained pending at the Senate.
Fantanas said the reason could be explained in two words—Joel Villanueva—eliciting laughter from the audience.
“He’s really the reason,” Fantanas said.
The Sogie bill, Fantanas added, was intentionally delayed by the efforts of Villanueva, who ironically is one of the bill’s co-authors.
Villanueva is son of evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva, who founded and heads the influential Jesus Is Lord (JIL) born again group which, in a press release on July 24, 2015 supported LGBT rights but stood by its belief that marriage is a rite only for opposite, not same, sexes.
Fantanas said Villanueva volunteered to be a co-author of the bill, but virtually obstructed its passage when he demanded to question the bill’s main author lengthily despite not being present in all hearings called on the proposed measure.
Fantanas said the bill had been on the Senate agenda for two years already but because of “a certain senator’s” request, the bill was scheduled 25 times for interpellation.
But the bill was put on the floor for interpellation only six times, Fantanas added.
“How many times did Senator Joel Villanueva requested interpellation?” Fantanas said. “Sixteen out of the 25 times. How many times did he interpellate? Three times?” she said.
Fantanas took this to mean a delaying tactic by Villanueva.
The bill’s approval, she said, was delayed by more than 200 session days at the Senate even after the House of Representatives passed it already by a vote of 198-0.
“If we count every delay, that would add up to theee years,” said Fantanas.
“At the Senate, the Sogie bill has been in the longest period of interpellation ever,” Fantanas said.
INQUIRER.net tried to reach Senator Villanueva for his comment but he has yet to reply as of posting time.
In August 2018, Fontanos and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community trooped to the Senate, requesting that debates be finished so that the measure could be passed before the 17th Congress adjourns.
However, even after the 17th Congress’ recess due to the elections, the Sogie bill still did not move toward enactment.
Amid all the setbacks, sponsors of the Sogie bill are confident that it would hurdle any roadblock in the 18th Congress.
In a press release posted on its website on July 24, 2015, JIL said this of its LGBT stand:
“In short, we say YES to the promotion of LGBT rights—BUT only insofar as the moral laws and standards of GOD, who is the Supreme Judge, are NOT violated.”
“This brings us to the case in point: In view of God’s precepts, should same-sex marriage be rendered acceptable?”
“We now turn to His Word—So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…’” (Genesis 1:27-28)”
“‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’” (Matthew 19:4-5)”
“From these verses, we can gather that, although across time and space marriage has taken on various forms (polygamous vs. monogamous) and definitions (economic security vs. romantic commitment) one kernel of truth remains—that marriage is a God-ordained sacrament between opposite sexes” (Editor: Tony Bergonia)
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