SOGIE Equality Bill

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE, Tagalog: ['sɔdʒi]) Equality Bill, also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB),[1][2] is a bill that was proposed by the Congress of the Philippines. It is intended to prevent various economic and public accommodation-related acts of discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.[3] The current version of the bill is sponsored by Kaka Bag-ao, Geraldine Roman, Tom Villarin in the House of Representatives, and Risa Hontiveros in the Senate. The version in the House of Representatives passed its third reading most recently on September 20, 2017, but died in the Senate.[4] It has been refiled for the 18th Congress.

2018 rally at the EDSA People Power Monument to support the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill

Legislative historyEdit

The bill was first filed in congress in 2000 by former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and former Akbayan party-list Representative Etta Rosales. The bill passed a third reading in the House but stalled in the Senate. Similar measures were filed by other senators in the 15th and 16th congresses without success.[5] The bill was refiled by Defensor-Santiago in every congressional period in the Senate until her last term in 2016. The counterpart bill in the House was also filed continuously by the representatives of Akbayan.

17th CongressEdit

In 2017, House Bill No. 4982 (sponsored by Dinagat Islands Representative Kaka Bag-ao (the principal author of the measure since her first term), Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman, Akbayan Representative Tomas Villarin, and several others) was not approved for a third and final reading for the first time since 2001[6] with 198 members of the House of Representatives voting for the bill and none opposing it, a historic pro-LGBT move from the House of Representatives.[7]

The counterpart bill in the Senate, filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros (the first Akbayan senator), was in the period of interpolations by May 2018. It was backed by Senators Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, Chiz Escudero, Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Francis Pangilinan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Leila de Lima, although de Lima is barred from voting on the bill as she is currently in police custody.[8][9] It was opposed by Senators Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao, Cynthia Villar, and Joel Villanueva (who signed up as a co-author of the bill).[10] Other senators such as Win Gatchalian, Koko Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes, Panfilo Lacson, and Richard J. Gordon did not express their support or rejection of the bill. Senator Trillanes is currently facing cases that may put him in jail, which may make him ineligible to vote for the bill like senator de Lima if he is arrested. Additionally, Alan Peter Cayetano and Gregorio Honasan lost their voting rights on Senate measures as they declined to be part of the presidential cabinet.[11] Out of the existing 24 Senate seats: 12 seats can vote and are in support of the bill, 1 seat is in support but cannot vote on the bill, 4 seats can vote and are in opposition to the bill, 5 seats can vote on the bill but have not yet given their positions on it (although the number may be reduced to 5), and 2 seats are de facto vacated.[11] For a bill to pass the Senate, it needs more than half the votes in favor of it from all 24 Senate seats. The SOGIE Equality Bill currently is supported by 12 seats that are allowed to vote on the measure.[12]

The bill is also supported by the Catholic student governments of University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU)-Manila, De La Salle - College of St. Benilde (CSB), Far Eastern University (FEU), Miriam College (MC), St. Scholastica's College (SSC)-Manila and San Beda University (SBU). The longest running LGBT student organization, UP Babaylan, has also been supporting the bill ever since it was first filed,[13] as well as known celebrities and icons such as Heart Evangelista, Nadine Lustre, Bianca Gonzalez, Iza Calzado, Charo Santos-Concio, Dingdong Dantes, Joey Mead King, Divine Lee, Karen Davila, Chot Reyes, Tootsy Angara, BJ Pascual, Samantha Lee, Christine Bersola-Babao, Rajo Laurel, Tim Yap, Anne Curtis, Mari Jasmine, Laureen Uy, Pia Wurtzbach, Lorenzo Tañada III, Vice Ganda, Arnold Van Opstal, and Chel Diokno.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

In March 2018, a small group of Christians protested at the Senate against the SOGIE bill by calling the proposed legislation an "abomination", adding that homosexuality is a "sin" citing that their hate is justified because it is written in the Bible and that identifying as part of the LGBT community is a lifestyle.[23] The group also claimed that the bill relates to same-sex marriage, which is not found anywhere within the bill.[24] Senators Villanueva, Gatchalian, and Villar spoke against same-sex marriage after the protest.[25] In May 2018, senator Tito Sotto, who opposes the SOGIE bill, became the new Senate President. In an interview, Sotto was asked on the bill's passage, to which he responded, "Not in this congress."[11]

In July 2018, various high-profile celebrities rallied for the passage of the SOGIE bill. They also called out senators Sotto, Pacquiao, and Villanueva to end the debates and pass the proposed legislation.[15] In August 2018, at the height of the bill's postponed debates, various discrimination incidents against the Filipino LGBT community surfaced, causing public calling for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the Senate.[26][27] Numerous influential personalities, including political allies of the three senators who oppose the bill, sided with the calls to pass the landmark proposal.[19][26][9]

In January 2019, fake news and chain mail[28] claiming that there are "Satanic"[29] and "same-sex marriage" provisions in the SOGIE bill began circulating as a move to impede the bill's progress.[30]

In May 2019, the SOGIE Equality Bill officially became the longest-running bill under the Senate interpellation period in Philippine history. Supporters of the bill have remarked that the prolonged interpellation was intended by the dissenters to block the passage of the historic anti-discrimination bill.[31] The bill's principal author and sponsor in the Senate, senator Risa Hontiveros, called on her Senate colleagues to formally close the question period so that the bill can be open for amendments and voting.[31] In June 2019, with the end of the session of the 17th Congress, the SOGIE Equality Bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression—after the lawmakers failed to tackle the bill in this session of the Senate of the Philippines. The Senate version of the bill was first filed on August 11, 2016. It was sponsored by Risa Hontiveros on December 14 of the same year. The bill has become one of the slowest-moving bills in the country's history. The passed House version of the bill would have penalised discrimination with a fine of not less than ₱100,000 but not more than ₱500,000, or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years or both, depending on the court's decision.[32] However, she said the bill had gained new allies and wider acceptance among policy makers and the public and that she is confident the bill will pass in the next Congress.[33] The bill was archived, and the bill must be refiled in the 18th Congress, restarting the one to three-year process of enactment.[31][34]

18th CongressEdit

Versions of the SOGIE Equality Bill were refiled in the 18th Congress by Senator Risa Hontiveros,[35] Senator Imee Marcos,[36] Senator Leila de Lima, and Senator Kiko Pangilinan,[37] while another similar bill was filed by Senator Sonny Angara.[38] Senators Bong Go,[39] Juan Miguel Zubiri,[40] Ralph Recto,[9] and Franklin Drilon[9] announced their support for the SOGIE Bill. In the House of Representatives, various representatives also filed their versions of the bill, notably, Sol Aragones of Laguna[41] Geraldine Roman of Bataan,[41] Loren Legarda of Antique,[42] Maria Lourdes Alba of Bukidnon, Jose Belmonte of Quezon city, Bayan Muna representatives Eufemia Cullamat, Carlos Zarate, and Ferdinand Gaite, Kristine Singson of Ilocos Sur, Bagong Henerasyon representative Bernadette Dy, Eric Olivarez of Parañaque city, and Francis Abaya of Cavite.[43] Representatives Sy-Alvarado, De Venecia, Reyes, Taduran, Bordado, Olivarez, and Violago have also signed as co-author of the bill filed by representative Roman,[43] while Gabriela Women's Party representative Arlene Brosas has signed as co-author of the bill filed by Bayan Muna.[43]

Religious leaders also gave their support for the SOGIE Bill, such as Koko Alviar of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Aglipayan Church)[44] Sister Mary John Mananzan, OSB, executive director of the Institute of Women's Studies of the Catholic St. Scholastica's College,[45] Bishop Solito Toquiero of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines,[46] and Pastor Kakay Pamaran of the Union Theological Seminary.[46] In contrast, representative Eddie Villanueva claimed that the SOGIE Bill is 'imported' and not part of Filipino culture.[47]

Senate president Tito Sotto expressed dissent against the bill again, adding that the bill "will not pass" in the Senate as long as he is the Senate president.[48] Senator Joel Villanueva also expressed dissent.[49]

Various personalities announced their support for the SOGIE Bill, namely: Anne Curtis,[50] Heart Evangelista, Catriona Gray, Pia Wurtzbach, Judy Taguiwalo,[51][52] Iza Calzado, Nadine Lustre, Janine Gutierrez, BJ Pascual, Mari Jasmine, and Samantha Lee.[53] Vice President Leni Robredo also supports the SOGIE Bill,[54] while President Rodrigo Duterte supports "an anti-discrimination law patterned like the one approved in Davao".[55] The government has stated that they will certify an anti-discrimination bill as "urgent".[56] In September 2020, groups again called to pass the SOGIE bill after President Duterte gave an absolute pardon to a former US Marine who has been convicted of homicide in relation to the killing of trans Filipina Jennifer Laude.[57]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Casal, Chang (May 27, 2019). "Before 'same-sex unions,' let's talk about the Anti-Discrimination Bill first". CNN Philippines. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  2. ^ Placido, Dharel (September 4, 2019). "'It's dangerous': Groups say SOGIE equality bill discriminatory". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "Debunking Some Misconceptions About the SOGIE Equality Bill". March 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Cupin, Bea. "House passes SOGIE equality bill on final reading".
  5. ^ Elemia, Camille (21 December 2016). "After 17 years, LGBT anti-discrimination bill up for Senate debate". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  6. ^ "SOGIE Equality Bill passes House of Representatives". 20 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  7. ^ Colcol, Erwin (20 September 2017). "House OKs SOGIE Equality Bill on final reading". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  8. ^ "4 senators express support for immediate passage of SOGIE bill".
  9. ^ a b c d Gonzales, Cathrine (10 August 2018). "Urgent passage of SOGIE bill at Senate pressed".
  10. ^ "A list of all the 2019 senate candidates". May 8, 2019. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "SOGIE equality bill? Not in this Congress, says Sotto". 7 March 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Catholic student councils to senators: End debate, pass SOGIE".
  14. ^ "Diokno to support efforts to legalize divorce, same sex marriage in Senate".
  15. ^ a b "Heart Evangelista, Iza Calzado, Divine Lee rally support for SOGIE bill".
  16. ^ "Anne Curtis, other celebs appeal to Senate to pass LGBT anti-discrimination bill". ABS-CBN News. 24 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Tootsy Angara, Heart Evangelista: What their pins at SONA 2018 stand for".
  18. ^ Cepeda, Cody (24 July 2018). "Heart Evangelista, Tootsy Angara show support for SOGIE bill by wearing rainbow pins at SONA".
  19. ^ a b "Pia Wurtzbach calls on Philippine Senate to pass SOGIE equality bill".
  20. ^ "Erin Tañada urges Senate to pass SOGIE bill". August 10, 2018.
  21. ^ "Dingdong Dantes reiterates importance of anti-discrimination bill".
  22. ^ Cepeda, Cody (16 October 2018). "Vice Ganda on SOGIE Bill to senators Sotto, Villanueva: 'Ipasa na 'yan, para walang gulo'". Inquirer Entertainment.
  23. ^ "GLAAD Media Reference Guide - Terms To Avoid". September 9, 2011.
  24. ^ Elemia, Camille. "Christian groups troop to Senate vs landmark SOGIE bill".
  25. ^ "Senators oppose passage of same sex marriage". Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  26. ^ a b "KaladKaren's experience shows urgency to pass SOGIE bill — Hontiveros".
  27. ^ "Discrimination vs 'KaladKaren' a wake-up call to pass LGBT rights bill - Hontiveros". ABS-CBN News. 29 August 2018.
  28. ^ [2][dead link]
  29. ^ @IFDKwhoIam (January 17, 2019). "Nag share uncle ko sa group chat namin ng isang chain message na dapat daw kami mag prayer rally kase may mga satan…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  30. ^ @shemisnothere (January 18, 2019). "My relatives are sending me these chain mails that attack the purpose of the SOGIE bill and how satanic bs it isw…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ a b c Michael Joe Delizo (9 March 2019). "SOGIE Equality Bill might start from scratch 19 years since proposal". ABS-CBN News.
  32. ^ "Long-awaited anti-discrimination bill flounders in Senate of the Philippines". Gay Star News. June 5, 2019.
  33. ^ "Hontiveros confident SOGIE bill will pass next Congress".
  34. ^ Villegas. "Why Sogie Bill is Counterproductive". Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin.
  35. ^ "Anne Curtis on SOGIE bill: Equality is all LGBT+ community seeks | Inquirer Entertainment". 2019-09-08. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  36. ^ "Imee Marcos files own version of SOGIE bill; rejects same sex marriage, divorce bill | Inquirer News". 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  37. ^ "Sotto: SOGIE bill, malabong pumasa sa Senado | Bandila". YouTube. 2019-09-04. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  38. ^ Gregorio, Xave (2019-08-16). "SOGIE Equality Bill needed to address LGBTQ+ sector's special needs – solon". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  39. ^ "Hontiveros appeals to Senate to pass SOGIE bill amid Cubao discrimination incident". 2019-08-14. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  40. ^ "Zubiri fully supports early passage of SOGIE bill » Manila Bulletin News". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  41. ^ a b "Another lawmaker pushes SOGIE bill". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  42. ^ "Hontiveros, Legarda press for approval of SOGIE bill". Manila Standard. 2018-08-10. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  43. ^ a b c "House of Representatives". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  44. ^ Posted at Sep 05 2019 03:20 AM (2019-09-05). "No 'special rights' given: Catholic nun supports SOGIE equality bill | ABS-CBN News". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  45. ^ "'Give attention to people who actually suffer discrimination and violence' – Sister Mary John Mananzan".
  46. ^ a b Tan, Lara (2019-09-04). "Some religious leaders back SOGIE bill". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  47. ^ Vergara, Robert (2019-09-03). "SOGIE bill 'imported,' disregarded PH culture – Eddie Villanueva". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  48. ^ "Sotto says SOGIE bill has 'no chance' of passing Senate". Archived from the original on 2019-08-21.
  49. ^ Gregorio, Xave (2019-08-15). "Villanueva: SOGIE Bill 'not the right' anti-discrimination measure". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  50. ^ Posted at Sep 08 2019 05:20 PM (2019-09-08). "Anne Curtis declares support for SOGIE bill | ABS-CBN News". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  51. ^ "Celebrities show support for SOGIE bill | Showbiz | GMA News Online". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  52. ^ "SOGIE bill won't spoil rights of non-LGBTQ, says former DSWD chief". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  53. ^ [3][dead link]
  54. ^ Posted at Jun 29 2019 08:30 PM (2019-06-29). "Robredo bats for passage of bill supporting fair treatment of LGBT | ABS-CBN News". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  55. ^ Palicte, Che (2019-09-13). "Go reiterates PRRD for anti-discrimination law, not SOGIE bill | Philippine News Agency". Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  56. ^ [4]
  57. ^

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