Public urged to see Abante beyond his proposed ‘Heterosexual Act’
MANILA, Philippines —After taking heat for his “Heterosexual Act,” the office of Manila 6th District Representative Bienvenido Abante Jr. urged the public to look past the bill and consider other legislation he had authored.
His office released a statement on Wednesday defending Abante’s House Bill 5717, which aims to recognize, define, and protect the rights of heterosexuals, as well as proclaiming the performance of the legislator in the House of Representatives – including the filing of bills that also seeks to prevent discrimination of any sector of society.
“Aside from HB 5717, Cong. Abante has also filed bills that seek to uphold the rights of all Filipinos. These include priority bills such as HB 118, the Anti Discrimination Act of 2022, which advocates for the equal rights of all, regardless of sex, gender, religion, or race; HB 191, the Geriatric Health Act, which mandates the creation of regional geriatric specialty centers in DOH-retained hospitals; and HB 4543, an Act Increasing and Expanding the Benefits Granted to Senior Citizens,” the statement enumerates.
“While we welcome interest in HB 5717, it is our hope that attention to the other priority measures and advocacies of Rep. Abante is also given, especially those that will have a tremendous impact on the lives of the Filipino people,” it likewise says.
In the exploratory note of House Bill No. 5717, Abante, who is also a pastor, 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.”
READ: Bill to protect heterosexuals filed; LGBTQIA+ group calls it ‘a joke of a law’
But a group advocating LGBTQIA+ rights called his proposed measure a “joke of a law.”
According to Reyna Valmores, chair of Bahaghari: “The ‘Heterosexual Act’ is a joke of a law.”
“It is a waste of resources, space, and precious time better spent affirmatively addressing actual concerns of Filipinos facing discrimination and violence.”
Valmores further emphasized that, “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’ (So a law for heterosexuals is useless) given that heterosexual o straight ang matagal nang tinitingnan bilang (are long been considered as) ‘normal’.“
Nevertheless, Abante’s office said the lawmaker’s stand on issues reflects his personal beliefs, noting that he would continue to respect the different opinions of critics.
“As a legislator and a pastor, Rep. Benny Abante has consistently fought for the welfare of his constituents and stood up for his personal beliefs,” the statement issued by Abante’s office says.
“Rep. Abante has frequently emphasized that his personal beliefs are a reflection of his faith and that even if there are those who disagree with his positions, he will always respect the beliefs and opinions of others—and will always speak out in defense of equality and human rights.”
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