Parliamentary debate on Section 377A, part 18: Seah Kian Peng

Editor’s note: Only the parts of his speech that touch on 377A are archived here

Source: Parliamentary Reports

23 October 2007, 5:21 pm, in Parliament

Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade):  Sir, I made some reference to the normative nature of the law-making process at the start of this speech.  With regard to section 377A, I have heard many stories and quotes that Mr Siew Kum Hong has related about homosexuals living in Singapore.  It is difficult not to be moved by them. At the same time, I know that his accusations about the tyranny of the majority are false.  This matter is one of principle and not of numbers.  If we acted with the tyranny of the majority, why do we have the GRC system, where ethnic minorities are protected?  Or if we were truly trying to be on the side of numbers, why did we not go along with the Malaysians in 1963 when they asked us to be part of a Malay Malaysia?  Or in the case of Myanmar, why do we not side with China or India, and take a completely “hands off approach”?  The numbers are certainly there.  Or why do we not be like the US or Europe?  The number of people may be smaller but the guns are larger.

Sir, this is the real slippery slope.  If we abdicate debate and discourse for mere accounting, we would not be upholding our role as Members of Parliament.  I believe that this debate has given an airing to both sides of the argument.  My own view is a simple one.  I would be the mother who loves her gay son.  I would be the man who loves his gay brother.  I would be the first to stand up for a gay man’s right to be treated as an equal under the law.  Yet, I am a Member of Parliament who believes that, as a nation, our families are not ready to have an open acceptance of the gay lifestyle, including same-sex marriages and gay adoption of young children.  I believe that these key institutions would be weakened by the repeal of section 377A. This view, like this debate, is a matter of principle, not of numbers.

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