ST Forum: Why is one law 'archaic' and not the other? (Oct 18)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

MS LIM Poh Suan wrote that repealing Section 377A of the Penal Code - a law criminalising gay sex - would threaten the family unit and 'lead to the disintegration of our social fabric' ('Removing Section 377A threatens family unit'; ST, Oct 16).

She forgets that gays are part of a family unit and many parents, siblings and other relatives - who are concerned that the law would discriminate against their gay loved ones - do support the call for the repeal.

In some ways, it is similar to interracial or inter-religious marriages - I have witnessed parents who were initially disapproving coming around after they got to know their child's partner and see the sincerity and realness of the relationship.

Section 498 of the Penal Code, which makes it an offence to entice, take away or detain a married woman with the intention of having illicit intercourse with her, will be repealed.

One may argue that repealing such a law would signal to society that adultery is acceptable, and this would threaten the family unit and children especially - more so than Section 377A, as it is applicable to all families.

The Ministry of Home Affairs explained that Section 498 concerns an archaic offence which is no longer relevant in today's context.

How is it that Section 498 is deemed 'no longer relevant in today's context' but Section 377A is still relevant?

Tan Yen Ling (Ms)

IN HER letter, Ms Lim Poh Suan implies that gays destroy family values. I would like to correct that view.

Family values are challenged when there is infidelity between husband and wife, when parents are too busy working to take care of children, when parents inculcate the wrong values in their children, when family members do not learn to think.

A family is not broken up just because a friend, a neighbour or even a relative is gay. It is absurd to blame parenting failure and family problems on external forces and the Government.

Repealing Section 377A is about love and compassion, and seeing all people as equals.

Let not religious dogma deny fellow Singaporeans their right to exist.

Chua Chee Hiang