MANILA - The Philippines may not be ready at this time for same-sex marriage, Malacañang said Thursday, as the Supreme Court tackled a petition to legalize it.
Same-sex marriage may be "too revolutionary" in the Philippines, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters.
"There is a right time for everything. The SC and the country are not yet ready for same-sex marriage," Roque said.
Human Rights Watch, which called on the Philippines to join neighbor Taiwan in legalizing such unions, may be "detached from what's happening" in the country, Roque said.
The Catholic Church has long opposed same-sex marriage in the Philippines, the bastion of Catholicism in Asia, where roughly 80 percent of its 100 million people subscribe to the faith.
President Rodrigo Duterte's position on the matter has varied. In his last public comments last March, he said allowing same-sex marriage would violate the law.
In an interview on ABS-CBN’s Gandang Gabi Vice in July 2015, Duterte said he was open to the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage.
"It's good. Everyone deserves to be happy," he said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday started hearing arguments for and against same-sex marriage, based on a petition filed by lawyer Jesus Falcis.
The oral arguments will resume on June 26.