A group of rights campaigners in the Philippines has lobbied the country’s Catholic Bishops Conference to stop opposing a new draft discrimination law with an unusual round of carol-singing, including Jingle Bells rewritten with a human rights theme.

Decked in reds and greens and carrying stockings, the carollers sang outside the meeting of religious officials this morning to petition them to stop opposing the part of a bill which would protect gays from discrimination in schools, workplaces and other social spaces.

Bemz Benedito, Chairwoman of Ladlad, the Philippine’s gay political party, said: “We sing our carols not only for bishops and senators, but also we want the Filipino people to fill our socks and our hearts with blessings of equality by approving the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity, or SOGI, in the Senate Bill (SB) 2814 or the Anti-Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination and Profiling Act of 2011.”

Medleys of traditional Filipino and English tunes were sung, with their lyrics rewritten to sound out the group’s demands.

Jingle Bells was reworked:

We want you to know, that lesbians and gays/
Transgenders and bi’s, have equal human rights/
Don’t discriminate, we need more love, not hate/
All we want for Christmas is our equal human rights!

(Chorus)
Human rights, human rights, we want human rights!/
Lesbian, gay, transgender, bi have equal human rights!

A statement by the organisers said: “All we want for Christmas is our human rights.

“We come together in this gesture of Christmas caroling to sing our appeal at the gates of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in hopes that we can reach to the very hearts of our esteemed pastors of the social reform leader Jesus Christ, who preached love, acceptance, and salvation to whosoever believe in his message of liberation.”

They added that they were “gravely concerned about CBCP’s demands to remove sexual orientation and gender identity from the list of punishable forms of discrimination stated in the bill”.

“We are outraged by CBCP lawyer Jo Imbong’s insistence that we should not be protected from discrimination in a similar manner as the elderly, the handicapped, and the poor. We take exception to Imbong’s mistaken belief claims that we disadvantaged our own choice and do not deserve protection.”