Anti-Discrimination Bill: What’s The Point?
Senate Bill 2814, known as Anti-Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination and Profiling Act of 2011, continues to attract prejudice from the Church authorities after it was amended to recognize the rights of the Filipino LGBT community. With CBCP and majority of the Catholic groups acting as a major road block, this bill, which they believe might eventually lead to legalization of same-sex marriage, seems to be existing at the wrong place and at the wrong time.
Amidst the clamor brought about by the addition of some pro-gay provisions, the public is put in a social dilemma almost parallel to that of the RH Bill. Is it necessary to pass a law that will put LGBT rights into the limelight? Is it worth the time and effort considering that our conservative Catholic country is still partially chained in homophobia? The bill has good intentions but there are valid reasons why this bill is considered by many as irrelevant and pointless.
Equal Rights or Special Rights?
Anti-Discrimination Bill, who also has its other version fighting its way in the Congress, is said to be upholding rights of the LGBT community and not requesting for special rights or privileges. What it does, according to its salient provisions, is criminalize violations to the human rights and freedoms on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity; the bill affirms and promotes human rights and freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution. However, if they are not requesting special rights, why are they pushing and promoting this so-called anti-discrimination law in the first place? The Constitution should be strong enough to provide ample support for the Filipino people regardless of sexuality. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders should never be deprived of equal rights and support because they are human beings who are giving the same types of contributions to our country. No doubt that they are being looked down now because no matter where you put your eyes on, be it on a TV show with a gay impersonator as a laughing stock, inside the classroom wherein a teacher always use a gay student as a source of humor, or even the tambays making fun of transgenders proudly flaunting their colorful personalities, it is crystal clear that the society has established a wrong stereotype of what it is like to be a gay. What we have to do is to open our minds to diversity, destroy all existing forms of unfair stereotyping, and avoid discrimination in any situation. This bill might not be able to solve the root cause of gender discrimination in the country because we have been molded and conditioned by the Catholic Church whose values and beliefs in sexuality are deeply ingrained in our spirituality. Whether we view it as a plea for equal rights or special rights, our nation needs enlightenment more than a law that might even push the LGBT group further at the center of criticisms and homophobia.
Church on Anti-Discrimination: Kill the Bill!
Albeit same-sex marriage is not part of the provision, CBCP is still firm on its belief that this bill might lead into something else if given the chance to be approved. Some speculates that it might be one of a series of steps carefully planned by the LGBT community and there is a possibility that same-sex marriage will be next in line in the future. Homosexuals clearly deserve respect, love, and equal treatment but this bill, which clearly opposes what the Church upholds, might just put the group into hot waters, putting additional intensity on the Church’s condemnation against homosexuality.Besides, like any other laws that are being put into waste, the bill might prove to be unsuccessful because at the end of the day, people have different views and opinions regarding homosexuality. We have a culture that has long been established and it will put more influence on people rather than a newly established law.
Anti-Discrimination law is not enough to create a change; we still need people’s cooperation and the Church’s tolerance. In the long run, the success of this bill will all depend on our society’s readiness to accept change and diversity. Filipinos should all promote equal rights and abhor discrimination but with our country’s status quo, we can tell that the ‘perfect time’ for this bill to be passed is yet to come.
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