Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

S'pore needs to find own way forward on Section 377A without 'sudden shifts, deep division': Masagos

SINGAPORE — Singapore needs to find its "own unique way forward" on Section 377A, the law that criminalises sex between men, without creating “sudden shifts and deep division” in society, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said.

 

Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, said that Singapore's society is still “largely traditional”, although it now has a wider range of views and attitudes towards family and marriage.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, said that Singapore's society is still “largely traditional”, although it now has a wider range of views and attitudes towards family and marriage.

SINGAPORE — Singapore needs to find its "own unique way forward" on Section 377A, the law that criminalises sex between men, without creating “sudden shifts and deep division” in society, Mr Masagos Zulkifli said.

He added: “Concerns surrounding Section 377A and its implications still have the potential to polarise society. It is an issue that involves deeply held beliefs and values, and divergent societal views and goals."

The Minister for Social and Family Development was speaking on Thursday (March 10) in Parliament during a debate on the budget for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

He was responding to a question from Mr Seah Kian Peng, Member of Parliament for Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency, who had asked about the ministry’s position on changing societal attitudes towards family and marriage.

Mr Seah noted that Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam also spoke about Section 377A in Parliament last week.

Mr Shanmugan noted then that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community are upset that their experience of being hurt or rejected by people around them is not recognised and often denied, but on the other hand, he also noted that “a large majority” of people want to preserve the overall tone of society.

In particular, many want to uphold the traditional view of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and that children should be raised within such a family structure, Mr Shanmugam said.

Mr Masagos agreed, saying that Singapore's society is still “largely traditional”, although it now has a wider range of views and attitudes towards family and marriage.

He pointed out how attitudes towards mixed marriages have evolved over time: More than 30 years ago, one in 10 marriages involved couples from different ethnic groups, but the rate has doubled to almost one in five today. 

“We are therefore not surprised that we are seeing an increasing acceptance of LGBT persons socially among Singaporeans,” he added.

Still, Mr Masagos said that the traditional family structure continues to be the bedrock of society as it “contributes to social stability and allows children to strive”.

“We will uphold the traditional family in our government policies and laws reflecting our societal norms and values. This includes marriage, parenthood, adoption, fertility treatment, housing and inheritance, among others.”

He added, though, that LGBT persons must continue to be protected from violence, harassment and abuse, and that there are both civil and criminal measures to protect all victims against such offences. 

“We also urge the public to step forward to report violence and abuse where LGBT cases may be involved.”

Related topics

LGBT Section 377A law Marriage family Masagos Zulkifli MSF

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.