PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte told a gathering of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals Sunday night that he supports same sex marriage and assured the LGBT community that their rights would be “protected and nurtured.”
“There will be no oppression and we will recognize your importance in society. I said I am for sex marriage. If that is the trend of modern times, if that will add to your happiness, I am for it. Who am I (to judge)?” the President said.
“If that is what will make people happy, I will give that to you. Why should we stop them? Why impose a morality that is no longer working and almost passé?” he added.
Duterte said to institute same sex marriage, the law would have to be changed, because marriage is currently defined as a union between a man and a woman.
“But we can change the law,” he said. “I don’t have any problems making it [between a man and] a man or a[ woman or a woman] or whatever is the predilection of the human being,” he added.
Earlier, presidential spokesman Harry Roque described Duterte as a “President of all Filipinos.”
“This administration has long espoused inclusivity and sensitivity,” Roque said. “We make no distinction.”
“We are all Filipinos enjoying our rights, freedom and equality before the law,” Roque added.
Duterte said he hoped there would be no discrimination based on sexual preferences.
“The only problem is there are some places in this world that continue to harass lesbians [and] gays and in some places, some are detained and even killed,” Duterte said.
He added that he was against such discrimination and bigotry because two of his brothers-in-law were gay.
“So, I was riding the helicopter and trying to figure out what I would say here,” Duterte said.
The President said he himself did not know if he wanted to be a boy or a girl when he was in high school.
“So from there we start are we normal? Yes. Are you normal? Yes.Is the tomboy abnormal? No, of course, not. Why? Because we are all creations of God,” he said.
Although nobody has admitted to being gay in his Cabinet, he said he would accept anyone who was qualified.
“Find me the brightest here in the Philippines – he might be gay, she might be a lesbian. I’d like you to nominate somebody because I [recently] fired the entire Commission on the Urban Poor,” he said.
In March, Duterte said that marriage was between a man and a woman and said the Philippines should not be forced to adopt the mindset of the West with regard to gender.
“Look at Time magazine (which carried a story on the blurring lines between male and female in the United States). There is no more gender because you can be a he or a she,” the President said during a meeting with the Filipino community in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
“That’s their culture. It does not apply to us. We are Catholics and there is the Civil Code, which says that you can only marry a [man and a] woman,” he said.