Thursday, October 25, 2007

375A + 2A

The full-pages of reports on 375A+2A in the newspapers yesterday were a breath of fresh air. It was not just because of the subject matter in question (which I don't have an official position on), but the impression that I got that some 'real debate' actually happened in Parliament. PM Lee summed up the proceedings...
[PM Lee] said: 'Singapore is basically a conservative society.' The social norm: 'heterosexual, stable family'. 'It's what we teach in schools, it's what parents want to see, want their children to set their expectations and encourage them to develop in this direction... And I think the vast majority of Singaporeans want to keep it this way...and so does the Government.' But Mr Lee took pains to reassure the gays that they are part of, and contributing members, of society here. 'They are our kith and kin,' he added, while citing 'growing scientific evidence' that sexual orientation is largely inborn. 'We shouldn't make it harder than it already is for them to grow up and live in a society where they are different from most Singaporeans.' Placing the status of the the gay community in context, Mr Lee noted Singapore's gradual progress towards a balance of the various interests. Today, gays work in all sectors. Gay films, clubs, websites are available. Section 375A+2A is not proactively enforced. 'I don't think we will ever get the perfect balance, but I think that we have a better arrangement now than was the case 10 or 20 years ago.' Repealing 375A+2A, he said, would not give gay activists what they want - full acceptance and more space. So 'it's better to accept the legal untidiness and the ambiguity... I should therefore say that as a matter of reality, the more gay activists push this agenda, the stronger will be the push-back from conservative forces in our society. So it's better to let the situation evolve gradually...'
While the outcome will disappoint some, the seemingly fascinating 'between the lines' judgment may give them the impression of 'a legal defeat but a moral victory', which is in itself quite ironic because it seems to blur the perceptions of the players in question: who seems to be the more moral/ethical party now?! What's interesting is the need to balance who is right (the person's personal opinion), to what others want to see as right (from a societal point of view). I cannot imagine so much due consideration given to more 'established' crimes . We do live in interesting times... :) More at the SG Daily.

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