Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

Allow space for gays but gay sex ban to stay: singapore PM-PT2

October 24, 2007
allow space for gays but gay sex ban to stay: singapore PM
By Sylvia Tan
 
 
What was said in Parliament on Oct 23

Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Chong:

I think I would be remiss as a legislator if I merely hid behind the views of the conservative majority and maintain the status quo which of course would be the least inconvenient thing to do if you are not gay.

I am not convinced that there would be drastic consequences in our society if we do not repeal 377A as the Section as been in the penal code since the code was adopted in 1871, I think. And neither am I convinced that we will all rapidly slip down the slippery road if we were to repeal 377A as suggested by some members.

The slippery road argument has less of an impact on me these days as I’ve heard that sort of argument used many times before.

Some years ago, a senior politician, who shall remain unnamed, argued his case as eloquently and as convincingly as some of our NMPs did yesterday in retaining an archaic regulation. The removal of such regulation it was said would have led to conflicts, fights and murders if it were to be abolished. Well, we have abolished that archaic regulation and permitted bar-top dancing for some years already, and the world has not come to an end yet.

If the experts are correct and some of our MPs wrong in their view that some people are born with a different sexual orientation, then it would be quite wrong of us to criminalise and to persecute those that are born different from us regardless of how conservative a society we claim to be especially if their actions do not cause harm to third parties.

We also claim to be a secular and inclusive society. We should therefore respect the private space of those who are born different from us, as much as we expect them to respect our common space.

Therefore if we do retain 377A as it is most likely the case as the Prime Minister has said so already, then we should exclude criminalising acts done in private between two consenting adults of full capacity. Enforcing 377A for acts done in private would be erroneous if we do not have the equivalent of religious vigilantes that some our neighbouring countries have to spy on the goings-on in bedrooms and hotel rooms.

And is it really the business of Government to regulate acts between consenting adults born with different sexual orientations in the privacy of their bedrooms?

MP Baey Yam Keng:

We will also say that we introduce Section 377A as a symbol that the society is conservative and that we do not want to go down a slippery slope to see public display of affection between men, gay rights and gay marriages. For seven years, I have lived in London, a city that legalized consensual homosexual sex 40 years ago in 1967. I am hence surprised I have not ever seen such behaviour in public while I was there. Perhaps I have not been to the right places.

Perhaps we are afraid that the slope will be more slippery in Singapore. After all, we have a track record of taking a more progressive stance in some areas such as stem cell research and digital rights, leading the way, so to speak. We take into account the change of times and lifestyles.

I suspect a significant segment of our society does not really care and some are just uncomfortable with this topic and choose the convenient way to stick with status quo without knowing what the act exactly is and does.

articlepic
From the top: MPs Lim Biow Chuan, Dr Muhammad Faishal, Ong Kian Min and Seah Kian Peng

Hopefully the government will provide the environment to encourage the continuation of such dialogue so that the society at large can achieve a better understanding of the matter. I want to especially encourage voices from institutions like the Law Society, so that the discussion will not be driven to periphery. Hopefully the discussion will be on-going and not just during the next review of the Penal Code. Hopefully the review will happen earlier rather than another 23 years later. Hopefully we will move with and not play catching up with the pace of change around the world that is affecting people’s lives.

Extracts of speeches by MPs who supported the retention of Section 377A

MP Lim Biow Chuan:

With the greatest respect to the prime minister, I must state that I do not think there is conclusive evidence that homosexual behaviour is inborn. The jury is out on this issue and different scientists would have different views on the matter.

MP Dr Muhammad Faishal:

In addition to the delicious rendang and ketupat, Section 377A became a hot topic of discussion during my Hari Raya visits and gathering.

MP Ong Kian Min:

By condoning homosexuality, we are effectively initiating a shift in the definition of the family unit… Singaporeans are simply not ready to change their family values and endorse homosexuality as normal.

MP Seah Kian Peng:

I would be the first to stand up for a gay man’s right to be treated as an equal under the law. Yet, I am an MP who believes that as a nation, our families are not ready to have an open acceptance of the gay lifestyle, including same-sex marriages and gay adoption of young children.

Videos can be viewed on Channelnewsasia.com and Straitstimes.com. ae

Advertisements

October 24, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Gay General, Gay Issue & Rights-Overseas

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: