ST Online Forum: We cannot afford to wait for conservative views to change before dropping laws against gays (Sep 4)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We cannot afford to wait for conservative views to change before dropping laws against gays

I refer to your report, 'S'pore must stay connected globally to grow'. (Aug 31)

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew cited the homosexual issue again and re-affirmed his positive views on the issue after what we can always expect was very careful study and analysis.

His need to balance the interests of different groups in our pluralistc society is appreciated.

The interesting fact that emerges in his interview with the International Herald Tribune is that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have 'allowed and accepted gays'.

He is convinced that it is a matter of time before Singapore follows suit.

But the question is how much time.

The headline of this article states that Singapore must stay connected globally to grow.

Growth is essential, but can we afford to wait, or grow slowly?

We have a conservative sector of our population, but they should not hold back the growth of our nation. They should not impede the progress of the country in becoming a world-class society.

Allowing and accepting gays is necessary and shows respect for the laws of the country.

To have a law and not enforce it can only mean that it is redundant and must be removed from the statute books as soon as possible. The rationale of keeping the law to satisfy the conservative minority brings the legal system into disrepute.

It is simply not right to label a minority of the population criminals because they were born homosexual. What makes the consensual same-sex sexual act a criminal offence?

All the allegations about irresponsible sexual acts apply to consensual opposite-sex acts as well.

We can ill-afford to wait and watch the world progress ahead of us. We need to stay ahead of our competitors in attracting foreign talent and foreign investment.

MM Lee has warned us of our nation's vulnerablities. We have been able to overcome one crisis to another thus far.

Let us stay connected and continue to grow. We cannot retain a fishing-village mentality in the 21st century.

Let us work together in harmony irrespective of race, creed, gender and sexual orientation to make pluralistic Singapore a continued success.

Dr Yap Kim Hao