Filipino Christian leaders protest newly approved pro-LGBT bills

Evangelical Christian leaders in the Philippines staged a protest on Dec. 16 to express their opposition toward two newly approved pieces of legislation that would support the LGBT community's advocacies.

(REUTERS / Romeo Ranoco)Supporters wave rainbow flags while marching during a LGBT Pride parade in metro Manila, Philippines June 25, 2016.

In an interview, Mindanao Evangelical Leaders Council president Bishop Genes Udang said lawmakers failed to realize that House Bills 4982 and 6595 will discriminate against the majority while protecting the LGBT community. Members of the council and other campaigners staged a protest at the Divisoria Plaza to speak out against the enforcement of the two new bills which were recently approved by the Lower House, Sun Star detailed.

"In crafting the bills aimed at protecting the LGBT members, our lawmakers didn't realize that the same bills will actually discriminate us, the majority," said Bishop Udang. "If that is your lifestyle, so be it, we don't have anything against it. But to try to enforce it that will, in effect, disorient our lifestyle, that is something that we must make a stand on because it curtails and it violates our Constitutional rights."

In addition, Bishop Udang said the LGBT lifestyle was accepted in the country, and the bills only gave preference to them over the majority of the Filipinos. He said such legislation will encourage pedophiles and other groups to demand more laws that favor them.

House Bill 4982, otherwise known as the Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) bill, will prohibit discrimination against LGBT individuals if it is passed into law. House Bill 6595, on the other hand, will legalize same-sex marriage in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte said he supported same-sex marriage. On Dec. 17, he said people should not be prohibited from things that make them happy, The Philippine Star reported.

Duterte first expressed support for the LGBT community in 2015, but later said he was against same-sex marriage. However, he backtracked on his views on Sunday during the 7th LGBT Davao Year-End Gathering in Davao City.