Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed his support for same-sex unions, after previously declaring his opposition to gay marriage, in an about-face that may displease bishops in the mainly Roman Catholic country.
Speaking at a gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in his hometown Davao City, Duterte vowed to protect the rights of homosexuals and invited them to nominate a representative to work in his government.
“I said I am for (same) sex marriage if that is the trend of the modern times,” he said. “If that will add to your happiness, I am for it.”
The Philippine Star reports:
Duterte assured members of the LGBT community that they would not experience discrimination under his regime. “There will be no oppression and we will recognize your importance in society,” the president said.
“You have my guarantee that everybody, at least during my term, will be protected and nurtured as a human being.” Duterte said he is willing to appoint members of the LGBT community to his Cabinet.
“I would be willing to accept all. I don’t have any problem with that. Now find me the brightest here in the Philippines. Give me a bright person. He might be gay, he might be lesbian. I’d like to nominate or appoint somebody upon the nomination,” the president said.
RELATED: In September, Duterte called the head of the Commission on Human Rights a “gay pedophile” for objecting to police killings of teenagers. In August, Duterte ordered police to shoot any “idiots” who resist arrest. In May 2017, Duterte imposed martial law and “joked” that soldiers are now allowed to rape up to three women. Duterte has bragged of “personally” murdering suspected criminals and has compared himself favorably to Adolf Hitler, saying that he would happily execute millions of drug users. Trump has praised Duterte’s “unbelievable job” in giving police and vigilante squads free rein to murder suspected drug users and dealers and invited him to visit the White House. An estimated 6000 Filipinos have been slain in the streets on Duterte’s orders.