The China Post: Taiwan gays blast Singapore over anti-gay law (Oct 25)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Gay rights activists in Taiwan condemned Tuesday Singapore's retention of a law discriminating against homosexuals Tuesday.

"This shows how conservative Singapore or at least Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong is because he defines family only as made up by a heterosexual couple," Wang Ping, Secretary-General of the Taiwan Gender Sexuality Rights Association, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"Singapore's act is open discrimination against homosexuals because it says a sexual act is legal for certain people, but illegal for others. Taiwan homosexuals, as a member of the world gay community, expresses our strongest condemnation," she said.

Taiwan's gay rights activists Chi Chia-wei also blasted Singapore's retention of the penal code's Section 377A as a step backward.

"Singapore had the chance to keep up with the times, but it chose not to. It is a great pity," he said.

Chi refuted Singaporean Lee Hsien Loong's claim that Singapore cannot abolish Section 377A because it does not want homosexuals to set the tone of mainstream society.

"If one is a homosexual, one is. If one isn't, one isn't. Amending the law cannot turn heterosexuals into homosexuals," he said.

Wang and Chi were responding to Singapore's legalization of oral and anal sex between heterosexual couples on Tuesday while retaining a law criminalizing intercourse between gay men.

In its first major penal code amendment in 22 years, Singapore's parliament kept penal code's Section 377A which makes sex between men a criminal offense, despite calls from gay rights activists and supporters to abolish the law.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supported the retention of Section 377A, saying Singapore remains a conservative society - with the traditional family as its main building bloc -- and homosexuals cannot set the tone for mainstream society.

Abolishing the law could "send the wrong signal" and encourage gay activists to seek more concessions, such as same-sex marriage and parenting, he said.