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Conservative S’pore ‘not ready for same-sex marriage’

SINGAPORE — The Republic is not ready for same-sex marriage as the society is still “basically a conservative one”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks with ASEAN media on June 4, 2015. Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks with ASEAN media on June 4, 2015. Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information.

SINGAPORE — The Republic is not ready for same-sex marriage as the society is still “basically a conservative one”, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

While he noted the developments in developed countries, he pointed out the “considerable resistance” from these places too.

“There is a trend in developed countries. In America, they have gay marriage. It is state by state. Not all states have agreed. In Europe, some countries have done it ... but there was big considerable resistance,” said Mr Lee. “Even in America, there is a very strong pushback from conservative groups against the idea.”

Mr Lee, who was interviewed by a group of journalists from around the region yesterday (June 4), was responding to ABS-CBN News Channel journalist Antonio Velaquez, who had asked for his views on gay marriage and whether Singapore is ready for it.

Mr Lee said: “No, I do not think Singapore is ready ... In Singapore, there is a range of views. There are gay groups in Singapore, there are gay people in Singapore and they have a place to stay here and we let them live their own lives. And we do not harass them or discriminate against them.”

He added: “But neither, I think, if you ask most Singaporeans, do we want the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community to set the tone for Singapore society. The society is basically a conservative one. It is changing, but it is changing gradually and there are different views, including views especially from the religious groups who push back ... It is completely understandable.”

The Government’s view is that “where we are ... is not a bad place to be”, Mr Lee said. “There is space for the gay community, but they should not push the agenda too hard because if they (do), there will be a very strong pushback,” he added.

“And this is not an issue where there is a possibility that the two sides can discuss and eventually come to a consensus. Now, these are very entrenched views and the more you discuss, the angrier people get.”

More stories from Mr Lee's interview with ASEAN journalists:

PM Lee talks about social media, governing S’pore post-LKY

ASEAN community ‘hinges on hardwork’

Blessed with opportunities, young here ready for challenges ahead: PM Lee

Indonesia not renewing 2005 bilateral agreement

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