The proposed “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” or Sogie Equality Law will be difficult to implement as it is ambiguous and highly subjective, lawmakers were told on Wednesday.
The group Filipinos for Life, in a statement, said the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were highly subjective, and there was “no way for one to determine definitively and objectively the gender identity or sexual orientation of a person before him.”
“With this difficulty, how then could we penalize in a criminal proceedings employers, school officials, owners of business establishments or even their janitors and security guards for failing to identify the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person before them?” said lawyer Jan Louenn Lumanta, counsel for Filipinos for Life.
The group describes itself as promoting “traditional Filipino family and cultural values” and advancing the “culture of life and the sanctity of marriage and family.”
“Unlike race, sexual orientation and gender identity are not permanent. We have known numerous cases of individuals who have changed their orientation and/or identity over time, making sexual orientation something not intrinsic to a person’s identity,” Lumanta told the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality led by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
“There are many provisions therein that risk the safety and privacy rights of women; create unnecessary bias and special treatment towards LGBT members in the workplace, educational institutions and the various religious community; and will justify a widespread feeling of antagonism and resentment towards the LGBT community because of the intolerant measures proposed,” he added.
Hontiveros assured attendees in the hearing that the Sogie Equality Bill would “take into consideration religious and faith-based sensitivities.”
“We are here to work together,” she said.
“Let’s remind ourselves of our unities: we are all against any form of discrimination, that we want what is best for each other, and we want to preserve our values and the Filipino family,” she said. “We are here to hear all sides, and to better the Sogie Equality Bill,” she added.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III called the Sogie Bill “class legislation” that would have no chance of passing in Congress as written.
“Surely it will be approved by the committee. Plenary approval, very doubtful,” he told reporters.
“Maraming kontra [Many are opposed] as it is. The way it is written now, maraming kontra,” he added.
Sotto said an anti-discrimination bill penalizing discrimination against age, gender and others would have a better chance of passage. (PressONE.ph)