Sotto says ‘So long, Sogie’ in Senate
Despite President Duterte’s avowed support for the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (Sogie) equality bill, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the measure had no chance of hurdling the Senate.
“It has no chance of passing in the Senate if it transgresses on academic freedom, religious freedom and women’s rights,” said Sotto, who also questioned, among other things, a provision in the bill that says it would be a discriminatory act to deny the grant of a license to a person on the basis of sexual orientation.
This could be interpreted to allow marriage among same-sex unions, Sotto said, adding that even if the provision were taken out in plenary deliberations, it may be revived in bicameral discussions.
Sotto also said the bill could be redundant since the discriminatory acts it seeks to penalize are covered by other laws, such as the Magna Carta of Women and the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act.
“All of the discriminatory acts mentioned here are covered by corresponding laws,” he said.
As for Mr. Duterte’s support for the bill, Sotto said, “Wasn’t he also supportive of other bills that we did not pass?”
He said he has a meeting with Mr. Duterte next week and hopes the latter would listen to his side regarding the bill.
Discussions on the Sogie bill were prompted anew by an incident on Aug. 13 involving a transgender woman being accosted for using the women’s restroom in a Quezon City mall.
Sotto said women’s rights must be considered in the issue, as there are those who are uncomfortable about having transgenders using the same restroom with them.
Those who have male genitalia should use the restroom for males, he added.
Malacañang on Thursday said it was deferring to Congress on the matter.
“We always say that the wisdom of enacting a law will have to be dependent on the lawmakers themselves,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo. —WITH A REPORT FROM JULIE M. AURELIO
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