377a has been repealed.
Based on reports from TODAY, a Singaporean newspaper (with close govt ties, all news media have close links to the government), the law was removed from the Penal Code after a 10h debate. Many of the majority political party (PAP) mentioned that social mores had changed and it wasn’t fair for gay citizens to be considered lesser, or to have criminality hanging over them when engaging in something private and consensual.
Somehow I’m deeply suspect of the reasons the government choosing now to repeal the law. The decision was taken out of the hands of the judiciary and into the legislature, which makes sense on the surface, but the fact that it works in favor of the majority party and boosts their public sentiment while the minority party dropped the ball on it, is cause for concern. People will start blindly trusting PAP and concede in other areas.
I’d also like to dissect some of the arguments against the repeal, mainly:
- The idea of a gay agenda
- Militant gays
- Marriage as a traditional, heterosexual union between a man and a woman.
- Conservative ideas that rely on marriage.
Items 0 and 1 need to be clarified by those who bring it up. What is the gay agenda? Are there other agendas? Is an agenda inherently immoral? What makes this one immoral?
Who’s being militant? Where’s the evidence of aggression, verbal, digital, physical or otherwise? How does that compare with the interactions of other groups in society?
As for item 2, marriage has traditionally between a man and a woman for reasons of stability, structure, and control. Historically, families as a singular unit are the de facto way of making, caring and rearing offspring – this is physical reproduction of humans. Parents teach their own children about society, allowing their offspring to integrate socially – this is reproduction of the structure and rules of society. Marriages tie other families together by the idea of shared blood, where people bound by blood and marriage are duty bound to help each other economically and socially – to the point where marriage becomes a trust anchor that enables cooperation between previously unrelated families. I think this is where conservative/traditional people strong ideas on blood ties come from. Conservatives want offspring to be genetically related as an idea of a lock-in or a stronger social contract.
If surrogacy and the science of mixing people’s DNA into offspring is accepted where a baby conceived in such a way is “as genuine/legitimate” as a baby conceived through heterosexual sex, then this would allay much of the concern. Now, queer relationships can reinforce society through the same channels of blood ties as well. Family units other than “one man one woman” can succeed in the same way – physically, socially, economically.
The fears of an aging population and the declining interest in child bearing/rearing have more to do with a more equitable and complete acceptance of parenting responsibility. This is good. It’s just gonna have to evolve too.
Singapore has also long offloaded education to the state, including how to behave. There’s no reason that a child of het parents will be raised better than a child of queer parents.
This was pretty hastily written as I’m pretty damn sick right now.