FSM Congress passes act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

December 7, 2018

FSM—On November 17, the FSM Congress passed CA 20-150 that would add a prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation to the FSM Code.

Section 107 of Title 1 of the Code of the FSM previously banned “discrimination on account of race, sex, language, or religion” and provided for equal protection for all.  CA 20-150 adds the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

On final reading during the recent special session, three of the four FSM states, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap voted for passage and the act was transmitted to President Christian on November 20.  Though he has not yet signed it, indications currently are that he intends to do so after consultation with cabinet members who are currently off island.

On the same day as Speaker Simina introduced the non-discrimination act, Senator Isaac Figir of Yap introduced a bill that would have barred employment of transgender people by the FSM National Government.  Though the bill was assigned to the committee on Justice and Government Operations, that committee took no action on it and the bill was never withdrawn from committee for consideration by Congress.

If President Christian signs the non-discrimination act into law, that new law would prohibit the passage of Senator Figir’s bill since it would disallow the passage of any law that would discriminate based on sexual orientation.

“C.B.No.20-261 I introduced did not reflect my intention or how I wanted the bill to be drafted,” Senator Figir wrote. “So I turned around and withdrew C.B.No.20-258 (CA 20-150) on the floor for a vote. There were oppositions to the bill, but I was able to get bill passed on 1st reading when there were only 10 or 11 members present.”

He said that had he not withdrawn the Speaker’s bill it could have sat in committee with no action if he had not intervened. “I did so because it is the right thing to do for FSM,” he wrote.

“I’m a strong supporter of human rights and spent my political career advocating human rights.  See comments/discussions on the bill (in the Congressional Journal). I’m very happy C.B. No.20-258 passed and pending President signing the Act. I’m happy people are discussing the issue. My bill triggers that discussion. There are contemporary issues people are afraid to talk about,” he wrote.

“My actions on C.B. No.20-258 on the floor of speaks for my belief in human rights,” he concluded.