The following is the solidarity message of Risa Hontiveros for the LGBTQIA+ community for our recent webinar, #HolyEquality: SOGIE Equality Bill and Freedom of Religion.
Magandang araw, Open Table Metropolitan Community Church. Thank you so much for inviting me to share some thoughts with you. But more importantly, thank you for having this conversation on SOGIE Equality.
LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights, simply because the LGBTQIA+ are human, fully and completely, never less than anyone else. That being said, the law should have no preference. It should inherently protect all people. The right to health, to education, to livelihood, should never be selective.
But this pandemic has shown us the murderous consequences of inequality. As we try to relieve the country of the immediate hunger, unemployment, and sickness, we must keep in mind the psychological and social wounds that need healing as well.
The SOGIE Equality Bill, first and foremost, mandates a respect of life. It is sad that so many people, because of their own lack of understanding, use personal opinions and beliefs to justify violence. That is why I am thankful that you are gathered here today to understand how we can begin to be kinder and hopefully transform our society.
This bill remains an important part of life saving, because it institutionalizes and articulates that all life, regardless of one’s gender or sexual orientation, must be valued. Each is deserving of our own basic human rights.
Whatever belief system we subscribe to, we could all agree that love is truth. Love compels all, love respects all. Although the SOGIE Equality Bill committee report still lack signatures to report it out on the floor, it is never less important.
As a proud ally, I will not stop fighting for the passage of this bill. We must keep on educating people through programs and through policy on the national and private levels, and we must keep on working everyday to engrain equality in our culture.
Weather at home, in the workplace, or in bars, or in malls. Wherever people go, your rights, our rights, must be acknowledged. There is not a single space that any less is acceptable. Just as it is our duty to love our neighbor fervently, respect must always be the norm.
I look forward to the day that at the heart of all our teachings and learnings, love and kindness triumph overall.
Mabuhay po kayong lahat and keep safe.Senator Risa Hontiveros
Author and Sponsor of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the senate