ST Forum: Gay liberation does send a signal of approval (May 3, 2007)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

May 3, 2007
Gay liberation does send a signal of approval

I REFER to the letter by Mr Choo Zheng Xi, 'Justify why gay acts should remain criminal' (ST, May 1).

Mr Choo argues on three fronts (1) that the scientific uncertainty over whether homosexuality is natural or not is a good reason for not jumping the gun in criminalising it; (2) that homosexuality should be criminalised only if there is harm done to society; and (3) decriminalising homosexuality does not send a signal of approval - it merely reflects respect for individuals' choices.

As much as I see the force of his arguments, I believe he is mistaken on points (2) and (3).

Firstly, decriminalising homosexuality does send a signal of approval. To quote the late Justice Murray-Aynsley: 'What the law does not forbid it allows, and what a law allows is, I think, justified by law.'

It sends a message that society now condones and justifies homosexual activity and hence we should all be more liberal in considering homosexual behaviour to be part of what humans are. Is this not the crux of the argument by homosexual lobbies - to push for abolition of Section 377 so as
to provide for social approval?

Secondly, it is following from this approval that actual harm to society may be done. Because society may now see homosexuality as being justified, it gives gay and lesbian groups and lobbies a platform from which they canpromote and champion their cause. They would become more overt and push for further societal approval of their activities.

Once this moral gatekeeper in Section 377 is removed, our societal values may be turned on their head.

I am not advocating an extremist stand against homosexuals and neither do I share Mr Jonathan Cheng's castigation of homosexuals as being 'hedonistic'.

This is my stand: Let homosexuals be homosexuals. As far as it is a lifestyle choice, let it be so and let them continue in the privacy of their homes without interference from the law.

There is no need to decriminalise homosexuality. But the Government should continue with its practice of not invoking Section 377 and should also ensure that it is not used to persecute homosexuals. It is enough that Section 377 remains to send the signal that society at large still does not approve of such behaviour.

Tang Shangjun