In a unified call for a "society grounded on equality," student government leaders from seven Catholic institutions urged the Senate to pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality 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," a statement shared on Tuesday said.
It was signed by the heads of student governments of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University(DLSU)-Manila, University of Santo Tomas (UST), De La Salle - College of St. Benilde (CSB), Miriam College (MC), St. Scholastica’s College (SSC)-Manila and San Beda University (SBU).
They described the SOGIE Equality bill as "an important piece of legislation that secures the rights and welfare of members of the LGBT community through a government policy of non-discrimination and full acceptance."
The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on its third and final reading in September 2017. The Senate's version of the measure, on the other hand, had come under interpellation from Senators Vicente Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva.
Calling it the "time to end the debate," the coalition of seven student councils slammed the repeated rescheduling of the debates since the bill was sponsored by Senator Risa Hontiveros on December 14, 2016.
"Every day with discrimination," the student leaders said, "people of diverse SOGIE get thrown out of their schools and homes, outed and ridiculed in the streets, barred from full employment, and deprived of access to healthcare."
"Every day with discrimination, LGBT persons live in constant fear of being stigmatized, harassed and, in many documented cases, killed due to hate.
"Every day with discrimination, members of the LGBT community are deprived of the full enjoyment of their rights."
The statement was signed by the presidents of ADMU's Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila; DLSU-Manila's University Student Government; UST's Central Student Council; De La Salle -CSB's Central Student Government; MC's Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam; SCC-Manila's Student Council; and SBU's San Beda Student Council. — BM, GMA News