IN a change of heart, President Rodrigo Duterte now supports same-sex marriage, even suggesting that the law may be changed.
“Ako gusto ko (I want) same sex marriage. Ang problema (the problem is) we’ll have to change the law. But we can change the law,” the President said in his speech before a gathering of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in Davao City on Sunday night.
Back in March, Duterte said the country could not legalize same-sex marriage, saying the law only recognized unions between a man and a woman.
He added the country was predominantly Catholic and that he would not support such unions.
Duterte said marriage was only between man and woman, as provided by the Civil Code of the Philippines.
During the 2016 elections, however, Duterte said while he was against same-sex marriage, he would consider legalizing it.
He said that he did not have a problem with a man marrying a man “or whatever is the predilection of the human being.”
“I said I am for (same)-sex marriage. If that is the trend of the modern times, if that will add to your happiness, I am for it. Who am I? You know, kung ano ‘yung kaligayahan ng tao, ibigay ko. Bakit mo pigilan (whatever makes the person happy, I will give it. Why should I hold it back)?” he said.
“Why impose a morality that is no longer working and almost passé, bahaw na (It’s leftover rice),” the President added.
Duterte even cited that he has brothers-in-law and cousins who were gays.
He then promised that “there would be no oppression” during his administration and the government would recognize the LGBT community’s “importance in society.”
“I have never, never, never oppressed anybody because of his race, religion. I just govern by the rule of fair play, equality. Hanggang diyan lang ako because that is my only purpose in being a President,” he said.
The President then urged the LGBT community to nominate a representative that he could appoint to the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP).
He fired the PCUP chairman and threatened to do the same to all commissioners, accusing them of going on junkets abroad.
“You nominate the representative from the LGBT sector because I fired the entire Commission of the Urban Poor, the head for traveling so much in so short a time, as if he was using the money of the people like his own. So I’d like to fix the commission. I’d like a gay there somewhere or a lesbian,” he said.
The President said he wanted someone honest and hardworking to represent the LGBT community.
“I would be willing to accept all. Wala akong problema diyan (I don’t have a any problem with it). Now find me the brightest dito sa Pilipinas ngayon (here in the Philippines). Bigyan ninyo ako ng bright na tao (Nominate someone bright). He might be gay, (she) might be lesbian. I’d like to nominate or appoint somebody upon the nomination,” he said.
Before becoming president on June 2016, Duterte was mayor of Davao City, which introduced anti-discrimination laws for sex, gender and sexual orientation during his administration.
In 2015, Duterte appeared on a national talk show where he said same-sex marriage was “good… everyone deserves to be happy.”