Go to Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FF6Gb1BchU This was the speech made by in parliament by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 23 October 2007 to wrap up the debate on Nominated Member of Parliament, Siew Kum Hong's Parliamentary Petition to repeal Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code which criminalises sex between men, even when it is performed in private between consenting adults. Transript of this video segment: Mr Speaker, Sir, this parliamentary debate is on the amendments to the Penal Code, but the hottest debate is on one section which is not being amended - section 377A. Both Mr Siew Kum Hong and Prof. Thio Li-ann quoted me with approval in their speeches yesterday, so I think I should state my position and the Government's position on this matter. Because of the review of the Penal Code and the amendments, I think the gay community and the activists have staged a push to get the Government to open this subject and to abolish section 377A. They have written an open letter to me as Prime Minister, they have also petitioned Parliament on this issue on the grounds of constitutional validity, and the constitutional argument was made by Mr Siew Kum Hong yesterday in Parliament. I do not have to go into the details. It was rebutted very cogently by Ms Indranee Rajah and very passionately by Prof. Thio Li-ann. They are not my legal advisers. I take my legal advice from the Attorney-General and his advice to the Government is quite clear. The continued retention of section 377A would not be a contravention of the Constitution. The Government has not taken this matter lightly. We had a long discussion amongst the Ministers. We had an extensive public consultation on the Penal Code amendments and we decided on this issue - to leave things be. Let me, today, focus on the policy issue - what we want the law to be, and explain our thinking, our considerations, why we came to this conclusion. I would ask these questions: what is our attitude towards homosexuality? "Our", meaning the Government's attitude and Singaporeans' attitude too. How should these attitudes and these values be reflected in our legislation? Many Members have said this, but it is true and it is worth saying again. Singapore is basically a conservative society. The family is the basic building block of our society. It has been so and, by policy, we have reinforced this and we want to keep it so. And by "family" in Singapore, we mean one man one woman, marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit. If we look at the way our Housing and Development Board flats are, our neighbourhoods, our new towns, they are, by and large, the way Singaporeans live. It is not so in other countries, particularly in the West, anymore, but it is here. I acknowledge that not everybody fits into this mould. Some are single, some have more colourful lifestyles, some are gay. But a heterosexual stable family is a social norm. It is what we teach in schools. It is also what parents want their children to see as their children grow up, to set their expectations and encourage them to develop in this direction. I think the vast majority of Singaporeans want to keep it this way. They want to keep our society like this, and so does the Government. But, at the same time, we should recognise that homosexuals are part of our society. They are our kith and kin. This is not just in Singapore. This is so in every society, in every period of history, back to pre-historic times, or at least as long as there have been records - biblical times and probably before. What makes a person gay or homosexual? Well, partly, it could be the social environment. If we look at the ancient Greeks and Romans, it was quite normal for men to have homosexual relationships - an older man with a young boy. It does not mean that that was all they did - they had wives and children. But, socially, that was the practice. So, I think, the social environment has something to do with it. But there is growing scientific evidence that sexual orientation is something which is substantially inborn. I know that some will strongly disagree with this, but the evidence is accumulating. We can read the arguments and the debates on the Internet. Just to take one provocative fact, homosexual behaviour is not observed only amongst human beings but also amongst many species of mammals. See complete transcript of whole speech: http://sporelgbtpedia.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Transcript_of_Lee_Hsien_Loong%27s_parliamentary_speech_on_Section_377A,_23_Oct_2007
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