Bill to protect heterosexuals filed; LGBTQIA+ group calls it ‘a joke of a law’
MANILA, Philippines – Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. has filed a bill that aims to recognize, define, and protect the rights of heterosexuals. But for an LGBTQIA+ rights advocacy group, it would be a “joke of a law.”
In House Bill No. 5717, Abante proposed the following rights of heterosexuals that must be granted and protected:
- To adhere to, practice, proclaim, promote, propagate, defend and protect their religion and religious beliefs, convictions and standards without interference and/or abridgment
- To practice and enjoy their religious profession and worship without interference or abridgment with the right to exclude therefrom others of different beliefs or faith
- To freely express and communicate with others, privately or publicly, verbally or in writing or through print or broadcast media or through social media platforms that now exist or that may hereafter be developed
- To freely express, exercise, and impose, in running or operating their churches, businesses, schools or workplaces
- To freely express their views, verbally or in writing, privately or publicly, in print or broadcast media, or in social media platforms that now exist or may hereafter be developed about homosexuality, bisexuality, and on transgenders and queers according to their religious beliefs and practices and to biblical principles and standards.
The proposed legislation likewise deems these acts as prohibited:
- Preventing, prohibiting, abridging, or otherwise interfering with the free exercise and enjoyment by heterosexuals of any of their rights
- Attempting to prohibit, abridge, or otherwise interfere with the free exercise and enjoyment by heterosexuals of any of their rights
- Threatening, directly or indirectly, in any form, a homosexual for exercising any of his or her rights
If these are violated, the bill recommends penalties of imprisonment from five years and one day to seven years and one day, as well as fines ranging from P100,000 to P200,000.
“If the offender is a public official, he or she shall, in addition to the foregoing penalties be dismissed from employment, shall be perpetually disqualified from holding any public office, and all his monetary benefits shall be forfeited in favor of the government,” the bill also states.
‘In the spirit of justice, equity, fair play’
Abante said in his bill’s explanatory note that the community of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and intersex (LGBTQI+) “are clamoring for ‘legislated rights’ and ‘state protection’ tailored for their specific kind and class, all in contravention to God’s law of creation and procreation and in utter defiance to His statutes and commandments, and the principles and standards of proper conduct and righteous living that He set for an orderly and morally upright society.”
And so he argued that if granting and protecting the rights of the LGBTQI+ community is being sought then, “in the spirit of justice, equity and fair play, we must also ‘grant and/or protect’ rights to heterosexuals who are the actual and direct creations of God, as the Bible says.”
‘Joke of a law’
But Reyna Valmores, chairperson of Bahaghari, slammed this proposed law, saying “it has been clearly drafted as a mockery of those advocating for gender equality.”
“The ‘Heterosexual Act’ is a joke of a law,” she said in a statement on Wednesday. “It is a waste of resources, space, and precious time better spent affirmatively addressing actual concerns of Filipinos facing discrimination and violence.”
Valmores also pointed out that the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Bill “seeks equality among all Filipinos regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, by uplifting those who are too often discriminated against.”
“The reality is, it is overwhelmingly women and LGBTQIA+ persons who are persecuted in a patriarchal, macho society like ours. Kaya wala pong pakinabang ang isang batas na ‘for heterosexuals’ given that heterosexual o straight ang matagal nang tinitingnan bilang ‘normal’,” she added.
(A law for heterosexuals is useless given that heterosexuals or straight people have long been seen as “normal”.)
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