What’s in a bill: Of SOGIE rights and anti-discrimination

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With Nelie France Sanchez

Perhaps there is not one bill that has polarized the nation more than the SOGIE Equality Bill.

Otherwise known as the “Anti-Discrimination Act”, the bill was authored by Rep. Risa Hontiveros.

Its full title is: AN ACT PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION (SOGIE) AND PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR.

Declaration of Policy

The Bill believes that the State “recognizes the fundamental right of every person, regardless of sex, age, class, status, ethnicity, color, disability, religious and political beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity, to be free from any form of discrimination”.

The SOGIE has been associated with the LGBT community, although in truth, SOGIE applies to all. Image from piggotts.co.uk

The bill intends to intensify its duty through recognition of international and domestic laws to respect, protect and fulfill the rights and dignity of every individual.

Content

Under the bill, the following are acts that are considered discriminatory:

promotion and encouragement of stigma on the basis of SOGIE in the media, educational textbooks, and other medium. Inciting violence and sexual abuse is likewise prohibited;

Inclusion of SOGIE, as well as the disclosure of sexual orientation, in work (criteria for hiring, promotion, performance review, salary, privileges, benefits, etc.). This provision shall apply to employment in both private and public sector, including military, police, and other similar services.

Refusal to admit or expulsion of a person from any educational or training institution on the basis of SOGIE; imposition of harsher penalties and including discrimination on a student or trainee due to SOGIE of their parents or legal guardian;

The Anti-Discrimination Bill has been met with resistance, especially from religious groups such as these ones who believe that the bill would destroy the idea of family. Photo by Lourdes Rae Antenor

Revocation of the accreditation of any organization or refuse plan to organize a group in educational institutions, workplaces, communities and other settings, on the basis of SOGIE;

Denial of a person’s access to health services, and health insurance on the basis of SOGIE

Deny an application for or revoke any government documents that’s necessary to exercise a profession, business, or any legitimate calling on the basis of SOGIE;

Denial of a person’s access to or use of establishments, facilities, utilities or services, housing, open to the public on the basis of SOGIE;

Subjecting or forcing a person to undergo any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter the person’s SOGIE, without the person’s consent; subjecting any person to profiling, detention, or verbal or physical harassment on the basis of SOGIE;

Subjecting a person to any acts that can affect the exercise of his/her rights or depriving a person of a chance to exercise rights and fundamental freedoms.

Penalties

Depending on specific violations, penalties would include a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P250,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years;

Or a fine of not less than P250,000 but not more than P500,000 o imprisonment of not less than six years but not more than 12 years.

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