Duterte backs gay marriage, upsets church leaders again
Philippine President vows to protect rights of gay citizens, but Catholic Church calls on Filipinos to not allow it
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has come out in support of same-sex marriage in an about-turn that has added further tension to already strained ties with the country’s powerful Catholic Church.
In a speech at a gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Davao, his hometown, on Sunday, Duterte vowed to protect the rights of homosexuals. He also invited them to nominate a representative to work with his government on the issue.
“I am for [same] sex marriage if that is the trend of modern times,” he said. “If that will add to your happiness, I am for it.”
The news stirred an immediate reaction – strong opposition – from the Catholic Church and other religious groups.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said on Monday that the Catholic Church could never approve of same-sex marriage and called on Filipinos not to allow it.
The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches also issued a statement saying that homosexual unions “directly contradicts a central teaching of Islam and Christianity — that marriage is only between a man and a woman”, the Inquirer.Net reported.
Duterte had previously opposed same-sex marriage and criticized liberal Western countries that allowed it, notably nations that attacked his deadly war against drugs, which has led to the killing of thousands of Filipinos.