LGBT people in Palau are excited but cautious about their president’s recent statement that he backs same-sex marriage. President Tommy Remengesau Jr on Wednesday (24 July) told local media that he thought the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was discriminatory. ‘Those who are different doesn’t mean that they should be outcast, second class citizens, or that they can’t contribute to the community. So I want to make it clear that I don’t believe in the constitutional amendment that promote discrimination,’ Remengesau said. ‘I want it to be on record that I support the rights of each individual, any Palauan, to be treated equally… Let us treat each other with respect and dignity.’ His comments are bold given Palau’s vote in 2008 for an amendment to the constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.
Located in the Micronesian region of the western Pacific Ocean, Palau is a very religious, mainly Christian, archipelago of islands. It has a population of a little more than 21,000 people and as late as in 2014, the government overturned a previous ban on gay sex.
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