Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shame on you Rep. Abante!

Lagablab reports on the recent privilege speech of Rep. Abante, House Human Rights Chair.

What follows is a text lifted from Lagablab:

A battle to pass a human rights measure penalizing discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders is raging in the House of Representatives, where the incumbent Chairperson of the Committee on Human Rights, Rep. Bienvenido Abante (6th Distict, Manila City), is ironically blocking the bill’s passage. In a controversial speech delivered last Monday, Rep. Abante, who is also a Baptist pastor, charged that the enactment of the bill would invite the wrath of God and would mean “death to the most cherished Filipino values of Godliness and moral rectitude.”

In his speech, entitled “Rejecting a Culture of Death,” Rep. Abante said that the bill is against the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it gives undue preference to lesbians and gays.
Rep. Abante, using boxers Manny Pacquiao and Erik Morales as examples, wrongly explained:

Please allow me to illustrate for purposes of clarity. Let us imagine a scenario
in a workplace, there are two persons whom we may call Pacquiao, as a straight
male, and the other, Morales, as a homosexual. Both Manny and Morales are
eligible for a job promotion. Their supervisor whom we may call Arum hates
homesexuals and thus, chooses Pacquiao to go up the corporate ladder. Under
House Bill No. 634, Morales could pursue charges against the supervisor, and the
latter maybe penalize for his personal preference in favor of the straight male.
However, let us try to reverse the situation at this particular example. What if
the supervisor chooses Morales, the homosexual, over Pacquiao, the straight guy?
Does Pacquiao who was discriminated against in this instance, have a cause of
action against the supervisor? Under House Bill No. 634, there is no pain of
penalty against the biased supervisor.
He also said that LAGABLAB, which openly called for Rep. Abante’s resignation as the Chair of the human rights committee, is still loved by God: “Mr. Speaker, I was told that the Lagablab Organization has declared an open war against me. That they will even campaign hard against me in my district. That I might not be voted upon. Huwag naman, Mr. Speaker. Hindi ko sila kaaway, Mr. Speaker. (I hope not, Mr. Speaker. They are not my enemies). But you know what, even if the Lagablab group has declared an open war against me, I declare to them the love of God because God loves them very much, Mr. Speaker.

He questioned “the constitutionality of the bill on moral grounds. The Philippine Constitution, beginning with its Preamble and Sections 12 and 13 in Article II, including a full article about the family in Article XV, is replete with provisions that guarantee the sanctity of the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation and the development of moral character. Perhaps it should be interesting to note for your information, that when American society defines a family, they define a family as two persons and a pet. Is that how the Filipino culture defines a family, Mr. Speaker?” asked Rep. Abante.

Rep. Abante likewise liberally quoted controversial feminist Camille Paglia to demonize homosexuality: “Let me share with you, the observations lesbian activist Camille Paglia offered and I quote, ‘Homosexuality is not normal.’ That’s what she said and she is a lesbian activist, Mr. Speaker. ‘On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm. Nature exists, whether academics like it or not and in nature, procreation is that single relentless rule that is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. No one is born gay.’ She said that ‘the idea is ridiculous. Homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait.’”

Ironically, after claiming that the homosexual lifestyle is an infection from the West, Rep. Abante had no qualms about promoting homophobia through the Christian doctrine, which was introduced to the Philippines through its colonizers from the “West,” Spain and the United States.

Rep. Abante lifted several passages from the Bible. “If I may quote, Genesis, Chapter I, when it spoke of creation, the Bible says, “Male and female created Eden.” I do not find in the Bible that God created male and female and the in-betweens. Mr. Speaker, I find in the Bible that God created Adam and Eve. I do not find in the Bible that God created Adam and Steve,” said Rep. Abante.

With a thunderous voice, he warned Congress against inviting the wrath of God by approving the bill. “We cannot legislate on these. To abet sin and ungodliness is to invite the wrath of God upon ourselves and our God-loving nation,” cautioned Rep. Abante.

“It has been written, Romans 1:18, 27-28 ‘For the wrath of God’, and what is the ‘wrath of God’? That is more than anger, Mr. Speaker, ‘is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men . . . for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves the recompense of their error which was meet.’,” Rep. Abante added.
He said that even in Islam, homosexuality is not acceptable. “if the homosexual is married, he or she is stoned to death, while if single, he or she is whipped 100 times,” Rep. Abante said.

To the delight of his followers, Rep. Abante said that no one should go against God. “Mr. Speaker, my being a male is not my choice, that was Divine choice. Women being women is not their choice, that is Divine choice, and no human being has the right to go against God’s choice, Mr. Speaker,” claimed Rep. Abante.

For his privilege speech, Rep. Abante mobilized Christian and Catholic organizations, among them the Holy Cross Parish, Holy Spirit Parish, the Ascension Parish, San Roque Parish from Diocese of Caloocan, the Alliance of Familes, the “Bible Mode” of the Believers League for Morality and Democracy and the Alliance of Baptist Councils and the International Baptist Missionary Association, Christian Leaders for Good Governance, the PCEC and the Baptist Bible Fellowship of the Philippines. COURAGE, an organization of ex-gays, was also present during his privilege speech. All in all, Rep. Abante claimed that there were more than 200 individuals present in the chamber, representing around 35, 000 churches around the country.

Rep. Abante warned fellow legislators that “our churches all over the country have decided to come together as one to rebuke public officials who would in any way support” bills like the Anti-Discrimination Bill.
After lambasting the Anti-Discrimination Bill, the solon proceeded to demonize the Responsible Parenthood Bill, a reproductive rights measure that seeks to promote the sexual and reproductive health of Filipinos. He called the bill anti-family and warned that condoms and sex education for young Filipinos would promote sexual promiscuity and decadence.

Rep. Abante was interpellated by several legislators (we will post the transcript of the debate instigated by Abante’s speech later). The authors of the bill, AKBAYAN Reps. Etta Rosales, Mayong Aguja, and Risa Hontiveros decided against “dignifying Abante’s bigotry,” bu the latter made a manifestation to express AKBAYAN’s objection to Abante’s homophobia.

Read more about the shameful privilege speech of Rep. Abante here.

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