Philippines: House approves SOGIE Equality Bill on final reading

The bill that would forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGIE) was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

With 198 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and no abstentions, the House passed House Bill 4982 or SOGIE Equality Bill during plenary session. Lawmakers voted unanimously to approve the measure on its third and final reading.

Under the bill, individual who discriminates a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) can be penalized of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years, based on the court’s decision.

The bill, otherwise known as “SOGIE Equality Act” penalizes the following discriminatory practices: denying access to public services; including SOGIE as a criteria for hiring or dismissal of workers; refusing admission or expelling students in schools based on SOGIE; imposing disciplinary actions that are harsher than customary due to the student’s SOGIE; refusing or revoking accreditation of organizations based in the SOGIE of members; denying access to health services; denying application for professional licenses and similar documents; denying access to establishments, facilities, and services open to the general public; forcing a person to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter one’s SOGIE; harassment committed by persons involved in law enforcement.

Publishing information intended to “out” or reveal the SOGIE of a person without consent; engaging in public speech which intends to shame or ridicule LGBTQ persons; and subjecting persons to harassment motivated by the offenders’ bias against the offended party’s SOGIE, which may come in the form of any medium, including telecommunications and social media can also be penalized under this bill.

The measure also includes subjecting any person to gender profiling, and preventing a child under parental authority from expressing one’s SOGIE by inflicting or threatening to inflict bodily or physical harm or by causing mental or emotional suffering.

Aside from the P100,000-P500,00 fine and one to six years imprisonment, the court may also penalize the person who committed any discriminatory act with community service. Read more via Philippine Canadian Inquirer