Bro. Eddie Villanueva claims SOGIE bill will give 'special rights' to LGBTQ+

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29) — Jesus is Lord Church founder and House Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva claimed the proposed Sexual Orientation, Gender, Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Discrimination Bill will give "unduly" special rights to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.

"Let it be put to record that this representation is in opposition to SOGIE bill — that is, in its current form and provisions, which I believe will not promote equality but will, instead, unduly give special rights to some members of our society," he said in a privilege speech on Wednesday.

The proposed law penalizes discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers. It also seeks to give equal access to employment, education, and social services to the members of the community. It also wants to ban the promotion and encouragement of stigma on the basis of SOGIE in the media, educational textbooks, and other mediums.

Villanueva, who represents Cibac party-list in the House of Representatives, said that a law against the discrimination of members of the LGBTQ+ community is no longer needed since there are already various laws against harassment.

"I see the bill as loaded with legal infirmities and unsettling questions on social acceptability and feasibility of implementation that i cannot just let it pass without thorough discussion on what it seeks to address," the church leader said.

He said lawmakers should not be pressured into passing the SOGIE bill just because of the controversy involving the alleged discrimination of transgender woman Gretchen Diez.

Villanueva warned that the passage of the SOGIE bill will threaten freedom of speech and religion, as well as curb academic independence of schools.

In response to Villanueva's speech, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman urged her colleagues to read the SOGIE bill thoroughly before deciding against it. She said there is nothing to worry about in the bill since it only seeks to promote equality among Filipinos regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.

"My request at this point because it is still early is that we all read the bill. Let us not be carried away by extrapolations, nor by fear," she said.

The church leader's son, Senator Joel Villanueva, has the same sentiments. He said the SOGIE bill is "not the right" anti-discrimination measure.

“The law should be equal, lahat pantay-pantay [Everyone should be equal.] You cannot give a special treatment for a particular law at the expense of another sector,” he told CNN Philippines on August 15.