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PAP MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh, Hri Kumar Nair delivered this speech on the first day of the parliamentary debate over Section 377A at 7:29pm, on 22 October 2007. Transcript of this video segment: "But at the same time, we have been saying that our society will not reject those with alternative lifestyles. We have even said that such individuals have a place in our civil service. It has also recently been said that homosexuality may be genetic and the debate on this issue is still raging on. Now the Ministry of Home Affairs says they will not prosecute offenders. So what is the message we are sending? Are we for or against it? What do we stand for? While this may be an uncomfortable issue, we should at least make our position clear. And just to cite an example by Mr Chris de Souza. He says messaging is important because -- and he cites the example of suicides -- if we remove, if we do not make it an offence to commit suicide, we are sending the message that suicide is acceptable. But there is no inconsistent messaging for suicide. So it is not such a clear issue. Sir, my second issue is with the arguments put forward by the opposing camp. The opponents of the repeal have expressed concern that any repeal may be construed as an endorsement by the Government in favour of alternative lifestyles and that is a fair point. However, likewise, I hope that any decision not to repeal will not be regarded as an endorsement for some of the reasons that have been advanced to oppose it. And what are some of these reasons? First, the argument advanced by some religious groups that 377A should be retained because homosexuality is an abomination. I respect their right to express their views and I do not think this is the appropriate place or time for me to discuss it. But we must remind ourselves that we are a secular state where everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and it is important to assure all citizens of Singapore that decisions will always be made on secular grounds. Second is the notion that 377A reflects our Asian values. But 377A is not even Asian in origin. 377 was originally based on an English criminal law which sought to prohibit sodomy and was incorporated into the Indian Penal Code in the late 1862. It was also adapted for the Straits Settlement's Penal Code in 1871. Section 377A was later added under the sub-title Unnatural Offences in 1938. Both sections were absorbed unchanged into the Singapore Penal Code when the latter was passed by Singapore's Legislative Council on Jan 28, 1955. In short, we inherited this from the British. There is nothing distinctly Asian about it. Third is the argument that repealing 377A will lead to a rampant increase in homosexuality and thereby increase HIV rates. First, having or repealing the law can make no difference because offenders have already been told that they will not be prosecuted. Second, Sir, it is stretching logic to suggest that the repeal will lead to a sudden proliferation of homosexual activity. Thirdly, making something illegal only forces it underground. That will restrict the ability of the Government to respond to the HIV threat through promotion and education when Government agencies feel that they cannot engage with the gay community in any way except a condemnatory one. Finally, Sir, the argument that the repeal is a slippery slope, that it will herald the end of the family unit. As I have said earlier, there is no consistency in our laws to support this argument. Further, while society may frown on homosexuality, that, by itself, does not justify criminalising it. A number of speakers -- at least one of them -- have raised or highlighted the surveys in The Straits Times, where the public was polled and 70 per cent were said to frown on homosexuality. Well, I can understand that, 70 per cent frown on it, but how many actually said that we are willing to criminalise it? That question was not even asked. And that is a serious question because that is the issue we face today. Some members have mentioned the possibility of same sex marriages occurring here. That, no doubt, will be an issue which gay activists will push further down the road. But that involves the Government actively endorsing and passing legislation to recognise same sex marriages. Sir, the arguments here do not apply. Sir, can I end by putting the question in another way and I say there's another way to test the issue. Assume we are here debating whether to include 377A into our Penal Code, would we do it? I'm not sure we would because we would hesitate about passing laws to deal with private acts in the bedroom. But because it is already there, we are comfortable leaving it there." Links:

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current07:00, September 4, 2015Thumbnail for version as of 07:00, September 4, 201505:41480 × 269 (10 KB)Groyn88 (wall | contribs)created video
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12:33, July 17, 2014Thumbnail for version as of 12:33, July 17, 201405:41480 × 269 (10 KB)Groyn88 (wall | contribs)created video


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