Philippines' controversial President Rodrigo Duterte changed his mind on same-sex marriage -- for the third time

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appears to have announced his support for same-sex marriage.
  • Duterte embraced LGBT rights in his election campaign, but backtracked as president earlier this year.
  • Duterte is highly popular in the Philippines, which is a largely Catholic country.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he supports same-sex marriage, Reuters reported Sunday.

The announcement reverses Duterte’s stance from earlier this year when he said he opposed such marriages because “that’s the law in the Philippines.”

Duterte announced his new position while speaking to an LGBT crowd in his hometown over the weekend.

“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.”

“I want same-sex marriage. The problem is, we’ll have to change the law, but we can change the law,” Duterte added.

That appears to be the same message that Duterte relied on during his election campaigning. In 2015, Duterte said on national television that same-sex marriage was “good” and that “everyone deserves to be happy.”

He also said he would consider legalization, but reversed his stance after becoming president in 2016.

The Philippines is a largely conservative society thanks in part to Spanish colonialism which created a deep Catholic identity. The nation is now Asia’s largest Catholic country and, with 76 million Catholics, the Philippines has roughly the same number as the US.

Duterte doesn’t seem fazed by potential opposition to his latest position on same-sex marriage, though he has yet to announce any concrete changes to the law.

“Why impose a morality that is no longer working and almost passed,” Duterte said to the LGBT crowd on Sunday. “So I am with you.”

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