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Church & Duterte Agree On Gay Marriage

PHILIPPINES

In his first statement related to gay rights, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said a definitive no to same-sex marriage, to the delight of the Catholic Church.

Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes was quoted in the Inquirer as saying the move was “very nice of Duterte.” This marked a rare point of agreement between the Church and Duterte.

Even before Duterte assumed the presidency, the controversial chief executive declared his enmity for policies and beliefs the Catholic hierarchy has pursued for years until the present day. This includes Church criticism of the government’s war on illegal drugs, which has been blamed for extra-judicial killings and the restoration of the death penalty.

Duterte's proclamation, therefore, came as a pleasant surprise to the Catholic Church.

To some critics, this is another flip-flop of the president’s stance on issues when he was still courting voters during the campaign season. At that time, he purportedly told a talk show host that “same-sex marriage was "good" because everyone deserves to be "happy." (Philstar Global Headlines).

Editor's note: This author has written here at TMP on the question of same-sex marriage during the presidential campaign, finding that Mr. Duterte was in fact not supportive of same sex marriage proposals even then.

The president’s declaration against the controversial proposal was made on his state visit to Burma.

In a meeting with the Filipino community in Nay Pyi Taw, the chief executive said marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman and that "the West’s” attempt to blur lines between males and females should not be imposed on the Philippines.

While Duterte said he has nothing against homosexuals, he stressed that other cultures should leave the Philippines alone, “because we are a Catholic country.”

But Mr. Duterte did not only cite religion as basis for his distaste for same-sex marriage. He also noted that, under the country’s Civil Code, marriage may only be between a man and a woman.

The president also criticized a recent article featured in Time Magazine, which noted an apparent “blurring of the male and female genders” in the United States.

Duterte stressed that people should remain just as God made them, and that the "great divide" between a man and a woman ought to be maintained.

Among evangelical Christians who support the president are boxing champ Senator Manny Pacquiao and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who was the chief executive’s vice presidential partner during the presidential campaign.

With the president’s stand on the issue of same-sex marriage made clear, his supporters in the House of Representatives, whose numbers are sufficient to control voting on any legislation, are expected to bury any bill that seeks to advance the issue of gay marriage.

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