TodayOnline: There is simply no need for anti-gay law (Sept 10)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There is simply no need for anti-gay law

Wednesday • September 10, 2008

Letter from Tang Li

I REFER to Mr Ho Kwon Ping's "Stop making a mockery of Rule of Law:
Let's accept gays" (Sept 8), and I would like to applaud him.

Like Mr Ho, I have to ask myself if there is any justification for
keeping a private act between consenting adults, criminal.

During last year's debate on the repealing of Section 377A, Nominated
Member of Parliament Thio Li-Ann argued passionately that repealing
the act was bad for public morality. In her address, she noted that
"Diversity is not license for perversity".

The majority of Parliament agreed with this and the result was the
retention of 377A, but with a promise from the Government that the law
would not be enforced.

Mr Ho rightly pointed out that the idea of having a law that the
Government has no intention of enforcing makes a mockery of the Rule
of Law, something which is central to the heart of Singapore's
rules-based society. The proponents of the ban on homosexual
intercourse spoke passionately about the need to defend public
morality, but they failed to provide a logically-sound reason for
their case.

At best, Professor Thio argued that private acts would have public
repercussions as in the area of public health. She pointed out that
HIV/Aids was spread most efficiently by anal sex.

What she failed to prove was how anal sex between two consenting men
was more conducive to the spread of HIV/Aids than anal sex between

The Ministry of Health's statistics on HIV found that in 2007 there
were 255 heterosexuals infected, versus 145 homosexual and bisexual
infections, something that nobody seemed to have taken note of.

Furthermore, the defenders of public morality didn't seem too troubled
by the fact that the greatest rise in HIV among women was from
loyally-married women who were infected by their husbands.

So, where is the premise for having a law against consensual
homosexualactivity? Singapore is socially-conservative, but does that
mean it is necessary to have laws — albeit non-enforced ones — that
discriminate against one group without protecting another?

Ministry of Health statistics on HIV show that anal sex between
consenting adult men is no less of a threat to public health than sex
between heterosexuals. So, why then do we need laws if there is no
threat to public health or security? Is it because the majority of
people disapprove of it? Surely, the people who disapprove of such
acts would continue to disapprove of them regardless of whether laws
against them exist or not?

There is no rational premise for laws against homosexuality, so why do
we need them? More importantly, why do we have such laws if we have no
intention of enforcing them? Is it because we know that such laws have
no benefit to society? I may not like homosexuals or homosexuality,
but I can see no reason for laws against what consenting adults do in
the privacy of their bedroom.

I salute Mr Ho for taking a stand against the current mockery of the
Rule of Law.