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Pritam Singh on Constitution and Penal Code Amendment Bills relating to Section 377A

16:49 Min

The issue of repealing Section 377A is “unique” in that it is a matter of deep religious belief for many, and a matter of conscience for just as many others, said Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh in Parliament on Monday (Nov 28). Noting that the democratic value of Parliament could be diluted if Singaporeans’ views were not adequately aired in the House, Mr Singh announced that he was lifting the whip for this debate. He said he had asked Workers’ Party MPs to carefully reflect on their positions and envision a set of principles or perspectives from which society as a whole, with its differing views, can move forward. Mr Singh said the repeal of 377A does not signal that Singapore is becoming a more liberal or permissive society, but makes room in the country’s shared public space for people not to be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation. He said “there were never any good options” before the Government that could please everyone with regards to managing tensions. However, maintaining the status quo indefinitely would only shine an ever brighter spotlight on the issue, as social mores in Singapore and beyond shift towards greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals. Mr Singh said new battle lines will likely now be drawn, but the aim will be to mitigate divisions and lower temperatures to ensure that Singapore can be a home for all.

The issue of repealing Section 377A is “unique” in that it is a matter of deep religious belief for many, and a matter of conscience for just as many others, said Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh in Parliament on Monday (Nov 28). Noting that the democratic value of Parliament could be diluted if Singaporeans’ views were not adequately aired in the House, Mr Singh announced that he was lifting the whip for this debate. He said he had asked Workers’ Party MPs to carefully reflect on their positions and envision a set of principles or perspectives from which society as a whole, with its differing views, can move forward. Mr Singh said the repeal of 377A does not signal that Singapore is becoming a more liberal or permissive society, but makes room in the country’s shared public space for people not to be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation. He said “there were never any good options” before the Government that could please everyone with regards to managing tensions. However, maintaining the status quo indefinitely would only shine an ever brighter spotlight on the issue, as social mores in Singapore and beyond shift towards greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals. Mr Singh said new battle lines will likely now be drawn, but the aim will be to mitigate divisions and lower temperatures to ensure that Singapore can be a home for all.

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