The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Bill has been a hot topic in the Philippines for several years now. It is a proposed legislation that seeks to protect the rights of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ+) by prohibiting discrimination based on their SOGIE.
The SOGIE Bill has been refiled in Congress multiple times since it was first proposed in 2000. However, it has faced opposition from conservative groups who argue that it goes against traditional Filipino values and religious beliefs. They claim that the bill would promote immorality and undermine the sanctity of marriage and the family.
On the other hand, supporters of the bill argue that it is necessary to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals are treated equally and have the same rights as everyone else. They argue that discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is a widespread problem in the Philippines and that the SOGIE Bill would help address this issue.
The bill seeks to prohibit discriminatory practices in various areas, including employment, education, healthcare, and public accommodations. It also seeks to provide protection from hate crimes and harassment based on SOGIE.
The SOGIE Bill has received support from various sectors, including human rights groups, LGBTQ+ organizations, and some lawmakers. However, it has also faced strong opposition from conservative religious groups, including the Catholic Church.
In 2021, the House of Representatives passed the SOGIE Bill on the third and final reading. However, it still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president to take effect. Currently, a hearing is being conducted by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, wherein lawmakers discuss the consolidation of several SOGIE bills.
The proposed measures to be consolidated are House Bills (HBs) 222, 460, 3418, 4277, 5551, 6003, and 7036, "Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristic and providing penalties for violation thereof," by Reps. Roman, Juan Carlos 'Arjo' Atayde, Antonio Legarda Jr., Christopher De Venecia, Arlene Brosas, Patrick Michael Vargas, and Edwin Olivarez.
HB No. 3702, "Establishing help and protection desks for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual, and individuals of various sexual and gender orientations in all Philippine National Police (PNP) stations, amending for the purpose Title VII of RA 8551, as amended, also known as the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998," is another bill that will be included in the consolidated version of the legislation.
Despite the progress made, the SOGIE Bill remains a contentious issue in the Philippines. Some lawmakers have expressed support for the bill, while others have voiced opposition. The issue has also sparked heated debates and protests, with both supporters and opponents expressing their views in public.
The SOGIE Bill is an important piece of legislation that seeks to promote equality and protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals in the Philippines. While it has faced opposition from conservative groups, it has also received support from various sectors.