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Filipino senator faces backlash for blocking anti-gay discrimination

Senator Sotto has angered the gay community after he demanded to remove sexual orientation from a bill protecting minorities
Senator Tito Sotto has angered the gay community after he demanded to remove sexual orientation and gender identity from a bill protecting minorities

A senator in the Philippines is facing a backlash from the gay community after he demanded to remove sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) from a bill protecting minorities.

The Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay Philippines) protested reports that Sotto is working to remove SOGI protections from the proposed Anti-Racial, Ethnic and Anti-Religious Discrimination Act of 2011.

Senator Tito Sotto, was allegedly reported by Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Brawner Baguilat Jr., a member of the House of Representatives that crafted a version of the bill, will be reconciled with the senate version in a two chamber conference.   

Baguilat did not name any other senators who were supposedly opposed to SOGI.

ProGay spokesperson Goya Candelario said: 'We are saddened that Sen. Sotto, whose successful showbiz and political careers are in part supported by hardworking LGBTs are now second class citizens who for him do not deserve equality before the law.' 

ProGay is a service organization whose mission is to promote human rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The gay advocacy group urged Congress to include SOGI as a protected status because the United Nations Human Rights Council recommended them when it subjected the Philippines to the Universal Periodic Review in May 2012.

ProGay said the failure of Congress to comply with this recommendation will put a bigger black eye on the human rights record of the Philippines.

'We appeal to Senator Sotto to give back to the LGBT community which had suffered long enough from a spate of hate crimes, workplace discrimination and ridicule from homophobic elements of society,' the group added.

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