The Philippines is not known for being overly LGBT friendly, but there is hope that it will soon be more LGBT friendly as the islands nation is set to vote at some time in the future on a measure that would ban discrimination against LGBT people. On Tuesday, Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aguirre Aquino IV voiced his support for the legislation.
Aquino was also asked about Pope Francis’ recent statement about how LGBT people whouls not be marginalized, and that it was not his place to judge gay men in the priesthood. Aquino stated that “I agree. When you look at the state, we do have equal protection of the law, and we will fight any kind of discrimination against LGBTs.”
The bill is pending in the House of Representatives, but has not been introduced in the Senate. Last session, it died in a House committee, but this time, Aquino notes that “If there’s a need to push for this bill separately, we will push for this bill.”
The Philippines is a deeply Catholic nation. Recently the secular government and the Catholic Church have begun fighting over things like LGBT rights and women’s reproductive rights. The Philippines is one of the last bastions of Vatican influence on a nation’s policies in the world and many senior clerics have been fighting any shift in that balance of power.
In 2013, Aquino became the second youngest person to enter the Philippine Senate after his uncle Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. He was the only member of the Liberal Party to run for office. In the past he has worked as a social entrepreneur, a TV host, and an actor.