Philippines president breaks same-sex marriage promise and denies validity of trans people

Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has rejected the idea of same-sex marriages, turning his back on a promise he made to the LGBT community.

In a speech transcript released today, the leader also refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of trans people, saying: “Wherever God has placed you, stay there.”

At a forum in January last year, during the run-up to the presidential election, he said he would push for legislation to allow same-sex marriage.

Duterte added that there seemed to be an “error in the Bible,” referring to passages where it states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

He told the applauding crowd that it should have said marriages were for “Adam, Eve and the gays.”

The 71-year-old president, whose war on drugs has killed 7,000 people since he launched it in July, referenced a recent American magazine cover which featured a trans person during his speech.

“That is their culture,” he said, referring to western countries. “That’s for them. That can’t apply to us, because we are Catholics.

“And there is the civil code, which states you can only marry a woman for me, and for a woman to marry a man. That’s the law in the Philippines.”

He again spoke about how two of his brothers-in-law and some of his cousins were gay, but nevertheless emphasised: “Wherever God has placed you, stay there.”

He added that no-one has the power to “erase the great divide between a woman and a man.”

Duterte made homophobic comments about US Ambassador Philip Goldberg last year, saying: “I had an argument with their gay ambassador, the son of a whore. He pissed me off.”

The president also publicly admitted in December to killing suspected criminals during his three years as mayor of Davao City.

The Philippines is one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Asia, with a 2014 poll finding that 73 percent of Filipinos believe homosexuality should be accepted.

However, there has been little in the way of progress.

There are no national LGBT anti-discrimination laws, no recognition of same-sex marriage, and the Family Code of the Philippines defines marriage as “a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman”.