Villanueva accuses SOGIE bill advocates of same-sex marriage agenda

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — The word war continues between Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva and Senator Risa Hontiveros over the controversial bill penalizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, or SOGIESC.

This time, Villanueva accused the bill's proponents and advocates of working on the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

Yun po ang pinaka-bottomline nito. Gusto nila ng same sex marriage, ano ba? ‘Wag na tayo maglokohan. Is it what they are asking for? Pero sinasabi nila hindi, ‘wag na tayo maglokohan. Same sex marriage talaga ang gusto,” Villanueva said.

[Translation: That is the bottomline. They want same-sex marriage, right? Let us not kid ourselves. Is it what they are asking for? But they say it’s not, let us not kid ourselves. Same sex marriage is what they want.]

In a statement, Hontiveros said the bill has no provision on same-sex marriage.

Walang nakasaad sa SOGIE Bill ukol sa same-sex marriage. Wala yang halong biro. Walang punchline. At lalong walang chismis. Doon lang tayo sa totoo,” Hontiveros said.

[Translation: There is nothing in the SOGIE Bill about same-sex marriage. We’re not joking. No punchline. And certainly, no rumors. We only stick with the truth.]

“Laws are worded to be as precise as possible, so that interpretation is unambiguous. Any ordinary lawmaker should know that, let alone a majority leader,” she added.

Last week, the two lawmakers clashed after Hontiveros lamented about the delayed proceedings on the SOGIESC bill, which has been waiting for Villanueva's action since December 2022.

That was when Hontiveros submitted the report of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.

Villanueva argued that concerns from various religious groups warranted a "further study" by the Committee on Rules, which he chairs. His motion won

In an interview on Monday, Villanueva cried foul over "insinuations" he was delaying the process.

Asked about a timeline, Villanueva did not cite dates, saying other senators were still planning to file their own versions of the bill.

The proposed SOGIESC Equality Act has been in Congress for 23 years. Senate pro tempore Loren Legarda earlier said there was no intent to let the bill languish in the Senate.