Catholic students urge senate to pass SOGIE bill

IGNORING possible sanctions from their school administrators, student councils from seven of the biggest Catholic schools in Metro Manila released a unified statement expressing support for the proposed SOGIE bill.

SOGIE stands for Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression; it seeks to prohibit discrimination among individuals.

The statement urged “Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval.” The bill is still being tackled up until now.

The said statement is signed by student councils from the Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, San Beda University-Manila, De La Salle University-Manila, Miriam College, St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde.

SOGIE or the Senate Bill No. 1271, was sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros last December 14, 2016 but has faced an uphill battle in the upper chamber, unlike in the House of Representatives that approved its version of the bill in September last year.

“In the Senate, It has been scheduled for debate 26 times, making it the longest-running bill under interpellation from Senators Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao, and Joel Villanueva, since its sponsorship close to two years ago,” said the Catholic student councils’ statement.

The student councils expressed concern on discrimination against LGBT persons. “Every day with discrimination, people of diverse SOGIE get thrown out of their schools and homes, ousted and ridiculed in the streets, barred from full employment, and deprived of access to healthcare”, their statement read.

The student councils cited their Christian upbringing in pushing for the said bill.  “Brought up on the Christian values of love and acceptance, and as leaders and representatives of students in Catholic academic institutions, we urge the Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval,” they urged.

The student council presidents urged the senators to end the debate on the bill.  “It is time to end the debate. We must forge a society grounded on equality – NOW,” the student councils concluded.

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