Same-sex marriage has been dealt a blow in the Philippines, with its president dismissing the possibility of legalising marriage equality.
On Sunday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said “you have to stick to where God placed you,” reported Rappler.
Speaking during a visit to Myanmar, he said same-sex marriage is a Western concept. “That’s their culture. That’s only for them. That can’t be applied to us, we’re Catholics,” he said, in a translation.
He insisted that he was not discriminating against the LGBTQ community, noting that he has family members who are gay, but “the great divide between a woman and a man…would get erased” if you allow same-sex unions, reported SunStar Philippines.
Twitter users were swift to criticise Duterte’s remarks.
New drinking game: take a shot everytime duterte flipflops on the issue of gay marriage
— slb. (@innncognitooo) March 20, 2017
Duterte loves to play the audiences. Alam niyo yung gusto mo marinig. Kaya iba-iba ang statements niya about issues ie Gay Marriage.
— Archie Andrews E. (@ipe) March 20, 2017
Duterte is singing quite a different tune from just a year ago when he was on the campaign trail. Before he was president, he seemed to suggest he was open to legalising same-sex marriage.
“Definitely, the gays were created by God and there has to be a reason for that,” he was quoted in January 2016 as saying.
Duterte’s latest remarks also present a setback for local legislators pushing for marriage equality.
Geraldine Roman, the country’s first trans woman elected to public office, said in support of same-sex unions: “The sky will not fall if a civil union bill is passed.”
Same-sex marriage also has a supporter in Pantaleon Alvarez, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Last year in October, he said he intended to sponsor the filing of a marriage equality bill.
Alvarez’s position in government is third in line to the presidency, behind the vice president.