VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte changes stand on same-sex marriage

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month said he cannot approve of same-sex marriage because the law allows marriage only between a man and a woman.

The president cited the same reason in his speech during the mass oath-taking of appointed government officials and the Philippine Councilor’s league in Malacañang on March 30.


“Whatever makes a human being happy, sa kanya iyan. Pero tayo may batas eh. I cannot allow it because the Family Code of the Civil Code ‘yung family relations nagsabi that a marriage must be a man — between a man and a woman. So how can we allow it?”

(Source: RTVM, Speech of President Rodrigo Duterte during the mass oathtaking of appointed government officials and the Philippine Councilor’s league, march 30, 2017, watch from 20:03 to 20:30

The issue on same-sex marriage was mentioned when Duterte lambasted the European Union (EU) and former U.S. president Barack Obama for offering assistance in countries around the world in exchange for upholding human rights, including same-sex marriage.


Almost two years ago, Duterte, then Davao City mayor, had a different take on same-sex marriage.

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Gandang Gabi Vice (GGV) in July 2015, Duterte was asked about his stand on same-sex marriage:

“Vice Ganda: What’s your take on same-sex marriage?
Duterte: It’s good. Everyone deserves to be happy.”

(Source: ABS-CBN News, What Duterte thinks of homosexuality, same-sex marriage)

Duterte first expressed a different stand on same-sex marriage while speaking to the Filipino community in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on March 19.

He lambasted the West for imposing its culture on the rest of the world. The president then referred to the TIME magazine’s cover story titled “Beyond He or She,” which featured young people questioning conventions on gender and sexuality.

“Look at the cover of TIME magazine. Isang babae o lalaki, wala nang ‘he’ or ‘she.’ ‘Yun ang kultura nila. Eh di kayo lang, hindi ‘yan pwede sa amin kay Katoliko kami at there is the Civil Code, which says that you can only marry a woman for me…for a woman to marry a man. Iyan ang batas natin. (Look at the cover of TIME magazine. There is no longer any ‘he’ or ‘she.’ That’s their culture. But that’s not allowed here because we’re Catholics and there’s the Civil Code, which says a woman should marry a man. That’s our law.)”

Duterte added:

Kung saan ka pinuwesto ng Diyos, diyan ka lang. Huwag mong haluin kaming lahat (If God put you there, stay there. Don’t mix it up.).”

(Source: RTVM, Speech of President Rodrigo Duterte Roa during his meeting with the Filipino community in Myanmar, March 19, 2017, watch from 30:30 to 31:23 )

Upon arrival from his Myanmar and Thailand trips, Duterte was asked in a press briefing held at Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) why he changed his position on same-sex marriage.

Duterte dropped the God narrative but he stuck to his reason that the law does not allow union of people with same-sex:

“In the Family Code sa ating Civil Code…our society, marriages and everything, it says that marriage is always between a man and a woman. If I allow it then I would have violated the law.”

(Source: RTVM, Arrival Statement and Media Interview of President Rodrigo Duterte following his official visits to Myanmar and Thailand, watch from 35: 10 – 36:05


The Family Code of the Philippines defines marriage as “special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life.”

Article 2 of the same law also states that marriage is only valid if the contracting parties are a male and a female.

Last year, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he would file a bill for same-sex civil union. In multiple media reports, Alvarez said his proposal will allow LBGT couples to have legal rights in court.


The Family Code of the Philippines Alvarez to file bill on same-sex union

GMA News Online: Speaker Alvarez to file bill on same-sex marriage

Interaksyon: Speaker bares plan to file bill on same-sex unions