Bill seeking to protect religious beliefs of heterosexuals met with backlash from LGBTQ community
A bill seeking to protect the rights of heterosexuals in practicing their religion and expressing their beliefs on homosexuals has ruffled the feathers of the LGBTQ+ community and groups.
Manila Rep. Benny Abante has filed House Bill 5717, otherwise known as "The Heterosexual Act of 2022".
According to the bill, heterosexual individuals will be given rights that allow them to practice and protect their religious beliefs and profession without any interference.
It will also give them the right to freely express their views about homosexuality and other sexual orientations according to their religious beliefs, practices and biblical principles. The expressions may be done: "privately or publicly, verbally or in writing, or through print or broadcast media or through social media platforms" according to the bill.
Should anyone attempt to prohibit these rights, the proposed bill states that the violator will be penalized with five to seven years of imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P200,000.
In addition, if the violator is a public official, they will be dismissed from their post and will not be able to hold any public office in the future.
According to Abante, the recent bills that have been submitted to grant protection to the LGBTQ+ community "not only recognize, but worse, promote and give rewards to 'genders' not created by God".
"If we allow these bills to become a law, these groups of precious souls will be driven away and away from God (Whom we say we believe in) until they are gone too far that they could no longer recognize Him or Hear his call," he added.
Abante stressed that if the LGBTQ+ community are given rights to be protected, then these must also be given to heterosexuals who are "the actual and direct creations of God".
"Heterosexuals should be respected and protected of their right to live and act as God created them to be and to freely proclaim God's truths, principles, and standards even concerning genders and gender identities and expressions outside of God's creation," Abante said.
Many netizens took to social media to express their displeasure regarding the bill.
In a Facebook post by Reyna Valmores, the chairperson of LGBTQ+ rights group Bahaghari, she called the proposed law as a "waste of space and a mockery of genuine laws for equality".
"Reality po na 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', considering na heterosexual o straight ang matagal nang tinitingnan bilang 'normal'," Valmores wrote.
She stressed, "This so-called ‘Heterosexual Act’ is, quite frankly, a joke of a law. [W]e need a law ensuring no Filipino is discriminated against simply for who they are."
Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Habijan meanwhile emphasized that God loves the LGBTQ+ community and called on Abante to stop pushing them to denounce their identities.
"Stop with your lies that God hates us and that we are wrong and lost souls. Stop pushing us to denounce our identities. Stop pushing us away from God," Habijan wrote.
She continued, "You've been hating and discriminating us for so long, but it, now, ends here! We will win over your hatred by living our lives, by being good at what we do, and by practicing the religion called kindness and love."
Along with Valmores and Habijan, many have compared the proposed bill to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression bill or SOGIE, which seeks to penalize any form of discrimination against someone's gender expression.
This includes heterosexuals as they also have a sexual orientation and a gender they identify with.
"If you read the SOGIE bill, you would know that it protects the rights of everyone. Your blatant prejudice and disregard of the LGBTQ+IA+ community has resulted to this ignorance. Do better," one Twitter user wrote.
If you read the SOGIE bill, you would know that it protects the rights of everyone. Your blatant prejudice and disregard of the LGBTQIA+ community has resulted to this ignorance. Do better. https://t.co/6su7ceIK6E— Pips (@piepause) November 8, 2022
Another netizen stressed, "SOGIE bill encompasses all genders and sexual orientations, why propose an act that exclusively protects cishets when they aren't the ones who are frequently subjected to discrimination and oppression?"