A preferential option against discrimination
READER’S VIEWS (The Freeman) - September 21, 2020 - 12:00am

Back then, I was not convinced that the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill was what the LGBT needed. I had reservations based on my faith as I disagreed on gay marriage. This is the strongest reservation we have on matters related to the LGBT but the Church will always provide a room for the discriminated. Unfortunately, many communities show hostility towards the LGBT that may be unjustly justified through doctrine.

Pemberton’s release made me rethink this stance. I believe it is time to revisit the bill because of the injustice that still goes on against the LGBT and how our society continues to normalize their discrimination.

So why not an anti-discrimination bill against all types of discrimination, sexual, cultural, etc.? A bill specifically made to counter a form of discrimination can send a direct message and specific plan of action to ensure clear protection for the intended sector.

I understand now why the Church has a preferential option for the poor. It is not because of some concept of the poor being more "loved" than the rich, using some idea of equality to judge them by a scale. Rather, it is because they were never properly given love. If so, why not make an anti-poverty bill? Because poverty is systemic and requires multiple steps to be gradually resolved. This involves bickering among economic models getting over them.

But why do we need a SOGIE bill? Would this not endanger the rights of the majority? If the question was about majority rights, we would have made laws that limited options for the majority, except this has never been about specific sectors getting less in law. The law has given the LGBT opportunities for labor, community and freedom by virtue of their citizenship. Yet their citizenship has not protected them from the virulence of discrimination based on their sexuality and experience. The law has not kept watch over the active violence against their personhood, to reduce them to "it", as that certain criminal has called his victim.

Have we not made the same argument about racism? Or misogyny? Or rape culture? Why deny the reality that there are people having it harder than any "ordinary" citizen? Because in the space of being a citizen, they are free to live as part of the state. But in the space of being themselves, we tell them that they are not supposed to be that way. To be gay? You sinned. To be black? I am afraid of you. To be Muslim or any religious minority? Your people hurt mine.

But why does it need to be a SOGIE bill? Because even if this step is inconsequential compared to every other, at least it tells the citizen who is gay, not straight or looked down that the law will be there for them. It is not a preferential option because the law favors them. It is an option to prefer that the discriminated be kept from the harm of discrimination.

Mar Louie Vincent Reyes

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A right decision

There is much ado about President Digong's granting of absolute pardon to the American serviceman Pemberton. There are those who averred that the proper procedure was not followed because there was no recommendation from BUCOR. Others said that there are PDL's that deserve more. However, the granting of absolute pardon is only one of the president's prerogatives together with the power to commute and the power to grant reprieve. Besides, there is no law that exists that only those with recommendation from BUCOR are the ones to be granted absolute pardon.

In granting absolute pardon to the American, the President cited that there were no reports of Pemberton’s misbehavior during his incarceration in jail. That Pemberton was not also fairly treated by the government.

There are times when we let the heart rule over the head. The fact that there was also an element of deceit in the commission of the crime because the American was duped by the transgender he killed is also an added factor in the president's decision.

I believe that the president rendered the right decision, and if I were in his shoes I would have done the same.

Jose Hortelano

Balamban, Cebu

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