TODAYOnline: Voices (Oct 18)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday • October 18, 2007

Gay law and the majority view Most not for gay agenda

I AM concerned about the recent petition to Parliament to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which forbids men from having sex with each other in public or private.

I am not against homosexuals; I recognise that they are as human and Singaporean as I am. As citizens, they already enjoy the same rights as the others.

But what they are pushing for now is the Singaporean majority's approval of their behaviour. It is clear the majority does not covet the agenda that gay activists are pushing for. If Parliament repeals Section 377A, we will be unwittingly consenting to such behaviour.

Health factors are another reason why Singapore must not repeal Section 377A. Studies in the United States, Australia and Cambodia have shown that men who have sex with men are most vulnerable to HIV.

I am most unwilling to see society degenerate with the legal approval of homosexual behaviour and fully support the Government's decision to preserve the law.

The measure of indecency

I refer to Felicia Tan Ying Yi's letter ("Teach youth the spirit of the law, not just its letter", Oct 17). Ms Tan talks about the importance of giving the youth the right tools and attitudes to help them make their own moral decisions, which I fully agree with.

However, I believe the most basic tools take the form of laws, which, beyond being a strict taskmaster, serve to reflect the consensus of the wider population.

Morality is not a black-and-white issue but if Section 377A prohibits "gross indecency", some sort of moral compass is needed here.

The problem is that not many people want to recognise that "gross indecency" is exactly what the term implies.

Secular laws uphold diversity

Letter from KHOO HOON ENG

I REFER to the letters from Ron Chong Ker Chuen, "Leave gay law unchanged"(Oct 16), which I read with sadness and dismay, and Felicia Tan Ying Yi's "Teach youth spirit of the law, not just its letter" (Oct 17), which I agree with.

I have two sons who have been brought up to be responsible young men contributing to society. I respect the rights of conservative and religious people to bring up their children in their own traditions.

But Singapore is a secular state. Our legal system is based on secular principles rooted in a diversity of cultural traditions. We should teach our children these principles.

It would be a mistake to insist that criminal law upholds one group's moral values at the expense of another's. We should tell our children the Government endeavours to create an environment with maximum space for individuals to live their own private lives without trampling on others.

Our children should learn that homosexual citizens contribute to building a democratic society based on justice and equality, as stated in the Pledge. So, should they not be entitled to "happiness, prosperity and progress" too, instead of being criminalised?

Furthermore, why should anyone be concerned about what is happening in other people's bedrooms?