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Leon Perera on Constitution and Penal Code Amendment Bills relating to Section 377A

17:03 Min

Repealing Section 377A represents a major political divide on which Singapore has to chart a path forward, but as it does so, Singaporeans should recall a few things that unite them, said MP Leon Perera in Parliament on Monday (Nov 28). First, Singaporeans will have to decide this debate themselves, based on what is best for and what is possible in this country. Second, the political centre on the issue is strong, with no one in the mainstream calling for active enforcement of 377A or claiming that discrimination is okay. So what is at stake, said Mr Perera, is the existence of 377A on the statute books as a moral marker. He said there are better ways to register views on matters of conscience, outside the realm of laws and criminal penalties. Retaining a law that is not actively enforced simply based on the word of the government of the day is also unsatisfactory and dangerous. Mr Perera said those on both sides of the debate should be free to express their views respectfully without being cancelled or demonised and that Singapore must move the needle towards cultivating the ability to agree to disagree in more and more of its national discourse.

Repealing Section 377A represents a major political divide on which Singapore has to chart a path forward, but as it does so, Singaporeans should recall a few things that unite them, said MP Leon Perera in Parliament on Monday (Nov 28). First, Singaporeans will have to decide this debate themselves, based on what is best for and what is possible in this country. Second, the political centre on the issue is strong, with no one in the mainstream calling for active enforcement of 377A or claiming that discrimination is okay. So what is at stake, said Mr Perera, is the existence of 377A on the statute books as a moral marker. He said there are better ways to register views on matters of conscience, outside the realm of laws and criminal penalties. Retaining a law that is not actively enforced simply based on the word of the government of the day is also unsatisfactory and dangerous. Mr Perera said those on both sides of the debate should be free to express their views respectfully without being cancelled or demonised and that Singapore must move the needle towards cultivating the ability to agree to disagree in more and more of its national discourse.

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