President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had said that he is in favor of same-sex marriage, just as he also said that he plans to create a commission for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community.
Speaking in Davao City at an LGBTQI yearend gathering, Duterte said that “gusto ko ‘yung same-sex marriage. Ang problema, we will have to change the law (I support same-sex marriage. The problem is the need to change the law). But we can change the law. I don’t have a problem with man marrying a man.”
Duterte also asked the LGBTQI community to find the “brightest nominee” to lead a commission he plans to establish for the LGBTQI community. “Now, find me the brightest dito sa Pilipinas ngayon (here in the Philippines now), might be gay or lesbian. You nominate the representative from the LGBT sector,” he said.
Duterte added that he wants an honest and hardworking person to head the LGBT commission. He set a deadline for nominees until the second week of January.
Duterte has flip-flopped on his support for marriage equality in the past. In 2015, before the Presidential election, he was quoted as saying that same-sex marriage is “good” because “everyone deserves to be guaranteed happy.” But two years later, he changed his tune by saying that the Philippines should not be forced to adopt the mindset of the West, which has been tolerating same-sex marriage.
In a Facebook post, Rep. Geraldine B. Roman thanked Duterte for his support for the LGBTQI community. “It only shows that he wants equality for all Filipinos.”
On marriage equality, “we would like to advocate for the more feasible option, which is the Civil Partnership Bill, which has already been filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. This bill aims to give legal recognition to stable relationships (whether same-sex or otherwise) outside marriage with the corresponding civil and legal rights and obligations.
Congress is a numbers game and I honestly think that at this point, my colleagues in the 17th Congress are not ready for Same-Sex Marriage. Many of them believe that marriage is an institution with religious connotations and we respect that. On the other hand, the Civil Partnership Bill has definitely more chances of being approved,” Roman said. “What we are interested in is the legal recognition and the civil rights attached to it, bearing in mind what is plausible at this point in time and without offending religious sensibilities.”
On the formation of the LGBTQI commission, Roman said that “we welcome his announcement to create (this) to address the needs of the community as we all work towards an inclusive Philippines where discrimination does not exist.”