Lawmaker proposes bill to ‘protect’ the rights of heterosexuals in the Philippines

Completely ignoring the fact that current constitutions and older laws in most countries were designed to uphold heteronormative and patriarchal norms, a Filipino legislator apparently thinks heterosexual rights and privileges are in such jeopardy that he introduced a bill law that seeks to protect heterosexual people. rights and their freedom to discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community.

The representative of the sixth district of Manila, Bienvenido Abante Jr., who is also a Biblical Baptist pastor, introduced a bill called the “Heterosexual Law” that, among other things, aims to “protect” the right of the non-queer majority to “…adhere to, practice, proclaim, promote, propagate, defend and protect their religion and religious beliefs, convictions and norms without interference and/or coercion.” It would also make it illegal to prevent, prohibit or interfere “…in the free exercise and enjoyment by heterosexuals of any of their rights”.

If these rights are violated, the bill proposes penalties ranging from 5 to 7 years in prison, as well as fines ranging from P100,000 (US$1,740) to P200,000.

The bill also adds that if the offender “is a public official, in addition to the previous penalties, he will be separated from his job, he will be permanently disqualified from holding any public office and he will lose all his pecuniary benefits in favor of the government.”

Maybe someone should tell Abante that freedom of religious expression is already protected by a little thing called the 1987 Constitution?

In his explanatory note, Abante argues that members of the LGBTQIA+ community “cry for ‘legislated rights’ and ‘state protection’ tailored to their specific type and class, all in contravention of God’s law of creation and procreation and in total defiance to His statutes and commandments, and the principles and standards of proper conduct and righteous living that He established for an orderly and morally upright society.”

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The bill clearly did not sit well with members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies, especially amid the languor of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) anti-discrimination bill in Congress, which is reintroduced this year.

TV personality KaladKaren, a trans woman, wrote on Twitter: “Again, giving equal rights to the LGBTQIA+ community does not mean less rights for others. It’s not a cake. How can they grant this ‘Straight Act’ when straight people aren’t really oppressed? How brilliant.

philippines drag race runner-up Marina Summers said: “Equal rights for all does not mean less rights for the so-called ‘direct creations of God.’ Oppressed ka teh? (Are you down, sister?)

And if the mold is like this “direct creations of God”, i’m glad i’m gay. (And if that’s how God’s direct creations are made up, it’s a good thing he’s gay.)

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno also weighed in. “The proposed Straight Law only serves to legitimize the very real oppression LGBTQIA Filipinos experience now. This bill ignores the everyday experiences of those who are denied services or opportunities in education and employment simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. This legalizes the denial of the dignity of another human being. Regardless of what we believe, surely we can all agree that this is wrong. The SOGIE Law should be passed instead of this bill.”

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