The Online Citizen

Open Letter to ST's Andy Ho

May 20
10:07 2012

Editor's note: This is the original opinion piece by Andy Ho in 'The Straits Times' May 19, p.A38.

EYE ON ETHICS

Same-sex union can't be labelled 'marriage'

Marriage for same-sex couples? Gay rights activists in the United States argue that such partnerships – already recognised as civil unions – should be given the same status as marriage. But there are ethical and legal reasons why they can be called anything but 'marriage'.

MANILA-BASED world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao just got into hot water with advertisers and fans when he said 'I'm not in favour of same-sex marriage'. That's unlike United States President Barack Obama who, after years of fence-sitting, declared his support for it.

The first eight-division world boxing champion was promptly accused of homophobia in some quarters and responded: 'I'm not against gay people…What I said is I'm not in favour of same-sex marriage.'

Arguably the most famous Pinoy right now – he has already been elected to public office in the Philippines – Pacquiao thus waded into what is developing into an angry debate in the run for the US White House. Though this seems to make it a domestic political issue for Americans, interest in it is global, as Pacquiao's inopportune comment attests to only too well.

And though it may sound far-fetched in Singapore where homosexual acts remain criminalised, it is of some relevance here too, given growing gay rights activism. In 2007, a public debate erupted over whether to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalises sex between mutually consenting adult males.

At the time, the authorities said that public feedback had been 'emotional, divided and strongly expressed', with most calling for the law's retention. Many pro-repeal appeals were launched online and offline while conservatives like 'Family & Freedom' began an awareness campaign to run until 2015 to 'educate' fence-sitters on the potential impact of legalising homosexual acts on the institution of the family.

If activists here began again to push for gay rights – which may one day include the right to marry – then the US debate could be a precursor that bears some watching.

The debate pivots around whether such a right is grounded in the more basic rights of equality of and non-discrimination against all individuals, and the impact on children being brought up in such homes. There is also the slippery- slope concern that if same-sex couplings are legalised, proponents of other unconventional couplings – say polygamists – may argue for legal recognition of their relationships using the same arguments of equality and non-discrimination.

Pros and cons as well as empirical evidence for both sides of the same-sex marriage debate abound. And the debate remains heated.

In fact, debate over same-sex unions has raged for centuries.

According to Bret Hinsch – Passions Of The Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition In China (1992) – some Fujian men married teenage boys, paying a bride price to the latter's parents.

This arrangement usually ended when the boy matured. But sometimes the couple did remain together, adopting children they would raise together.

The same practice was seen among the Zande tribe of southwestern Sudan, north-eastern Congo, and the Central African Republic, according to Boy-Wives And Female Husbands (2001) by Stephen Murray and Will Roscoe. There were also women-marriages practised in Benin, Nigeria and South Africa.

In Changing Ones (1998), Will Roscoe recounts a history of same-sex unions among native American tribes. For instance, among the Kwakiutl Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a man who 'married' the tribe chief's heir was conferred certain privileges by his 'father-in-law'.

But note the scare quotes by the writer above – the convention of remarking on this issue of same-sex relations with the apposite use of quotation marks.

Many who are not against gay rights per se do feel that there are ethical grounds to deny the status of 'marriage' to same-sex couplings, even when legalised.

For some advocates, designating the relationship as a civil union with similar legal rights as a heterosexual marriage is a compromise solution.

But others demand full marriage equality with heterosexual couples.

Marriage does come with a bundle of rights and benefits. It entitles you to important legal rights such as the presumed joint ownership of property, the right to make next-of-kin decisions if a partner is indisposed, and so on. (Rights are different from entitlements such as baby bonuses which are a function of public policy.)

Advocates argue that not extending these marital rights to same-sex unions would be discriminatory. Are they right?

Some governments do provide the whole panoply of legal rights that married people have to same-sex unions. In Strauss v Horton (2008), the California Supreme Court ruled that the state government could give such marital rights to a same-sex couple in a civil union, without ever calling it a marriage.

If same-sex couples are given similar rights, privileges and benefits as heterosexual couples, then any fight that remains is really just over symbolic capital: Same-sex couples want their union to be called 'marriage' to enjoy the same approbation that heterosexual marital couplings have.

But this is precisely what opponents want to deny them. They say that a symbol has value to the degree people feel it stands for something desirable. If it is attached to something dissimilar, however, its value is eroded.

For instance, the Golden Arches symbol stands for the uniform quality of the McDonald's meal anywhere in the world. If you slapped the Golden Arches on your random burger stand, you infringe that trademark and McDonald's lawyers will haul you off to court.

But if you stuck the logo to a non-fast food item – say, the faux-Italian line of furniture sold at a neighbourhood shop – you do not infringe a trademark. But you erode this universal symbol of burgerhood. It is still actionable.

After all, McDonald's is not just a business but an institution as well. But what is an institution? Would Yale University still be Yale should the whole campus be nuked and the individual schools reconstituted afterwards at a different location in the US?

This was a question my former Yale Professor Alex Wendt, now the Ralph D. Mershon professor of international security at Ohio State University, likes to ask his graduate students.

He concluded that Yale was not merely another organisation but was really a set of rules which all Yalies carried around in their heads.

These rules had to do with their expectations that they would continue to strive for the highest achievements in their fields and do so with diligence and collegiality, values their predecessors had lived up to and handed down.

These rules play a part in creating a collective identity while also changing the individual Yalie's beliefs about his own identity, abilities and commitments. In other words, an institution has significance by virtue of the ideas that people carry around in their heads about them.

So McDonald's is an institution that stands for dependable quality fast food. Its workers internalise and act on rules of behaviour that allow it to produce such consistent quality.

Consumers carry around in their heads expectations about such worker behaviour and the product.

Of course, McDonald's is not likely to fear your furniture line as a competitor. But it will be unhappy that you have diluted its institutional value, fearing an adulteration of the goodwill that people attach to the Golden Arches. But if institutions are rules in people's heads, alternative institutions are always possible.

So instead of stealing McDonald's name and logo, you can come up with an Italian name, say, Archi Dorati, and a different logo for your furniture line instead.

Likewise, EPL is a trademark and an institution, so women's football can have its own league but it should certainly not call itself 'Women's EPL'.

Similarly, traditional marriage advocates need not fear the same-sex union as a competitor. Its valid concern is only that the institutional standing of 'marriage' might be eroded.

The marital union of a man and woman in all human societies encourages men and women to be responsible for one another, procreate children and nurture them. Upon this cherished institution, human societies are built.

But use of its name by something different would tarnish its symbolic value. If so, same-sex unions should not try to live off its symbolic value. Instead, they should simply come up with a good term. 'Civil union' sounds just about right.

____________________________________________________

 

Dear Andy Ho,

As a gay man, I'd like to thank you for sharing your views in your article on Saturday May 19, p.A38, "Same-sex union can't be labelled 'marriage'". I truly appreciate the fact that you're standing up for civil unions, which is more than any other senior writer is doing so far. 

 

However, I would not like to thank whichever editor was responsible for commissioning Adam Lee to print that huge anti-gay logo beside your editorial. It is offensively homophobic, almost inflammatorily so, just as star and crescent crossed out would be anti-Muslim or a female symbol crossed out would be anti-woman. I think you'll agree that it misrepresents the fact that your article is a good deal more balanced than that.

I myself am in favour of same-sex marriage, and I'd like to two points in your article which I believe are problematic.

First, you draw on the idea of marriage being akin to a trademarked symbol, not unlike McDonald's or Yale University. It's not. It's a concept that's evolved over the years and is interpreted differently by different cultures. In the same way that "porridge" and "carrot" mean different things to people in Singapore and New York, "marriage" means different things to an 18th century Chinese merchant with ten stay-at-home wives and a 21st century Filipino household where husband and wife work in different countries for years on end.

Currently, our standard definition of marriage is a union two people make because they are in love and want to support each other. Children have little to do with it. And of course, sterile opposite-sex couples are allowed – almost encouraged – to adopt. Same-sex couples should also have that right, given that studies have shown they are equally good parents as their opposite-sex counterparts, if not better.

Also, remember that "gay marriage" is not an abstract concept: there are already ten countries in the world which allow same-sex marriage. Some people with these marriage certificates are living in Singapore. If you're attempting to limit the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, you're pretty much trying to close the stable door after the horses have bolted.

Second, you claim that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples would "tarnish [the] symbolic value" of marriage. Though this statement is too abstracted to be proven right or wrong, I'd like to point out that contemporary societies which have legalised same-sex marriage have seen no harm come to opposite-sex marriage: there are no climbing divorce rates, no higher instances of abuse, no dramatic declines in childbirth. The concept may have changed, but actual people aren't suffering.

Once again, I'd like to thank you for your support of same-sex civil unions. As you know, this year's PinkDot is on Saturday, 30 June at Hong Lim Park. I hope you'll come. I'm going to make a large sign saying "I support civil unions" so that you can hold it for everyone to see. That is the message that Singaporeans need to hear.

 

Yours sincerely,

Ng Yi-Sheng

Writer, reporter and educator

TOC thanks Yi-Sheng for this contribution. This article originally appeared as a Facebook note on Yi-Sheng's site that has since gone viral.

This article is published by The Online Citizen, 20 Maxwell Road, #09-17 Maxwell House, Singapore 069113.

 
  • iAMidiAMIN

    wah andy ho anti gays har? why hopin to get EREDTED in the 2016 erecions under leekingyou?in africa there is gay president roamin/runnin the country..do you see him closed all the gay facilities and their RIGHTs?

  • Da Sperm

    Any unpublished articles by ST should be published on TOC, for all to see. Let there be light!
     
    Living in the dark is like masterbating in the dark with a piece of dirty panties.

  • XQ

    "there are already ten countries in the world which allow same-sex marriage. Some people with these marriage certificates are living in Singapore. "
    One of these people is my marketing professor at SMU. My point is that this legality of gay marriage is very real. You will not be thrown into jail.
    I hope more Singaporeans find the courage to do the same do the same.

  • BlueDot

    My opinion is that marriage has little to do with love, one can love a person and not have to marry him/her. It is very common to find heterosexual or homosexual couples as commited and 'loving' to each other as any other married couples.The converse is also true, that many people are married to someone they dont really love but continue in the union out of numerous, often practical reasons.
    The original purpose of marriage was nothing more than a social contract. It gave legal recognition to a family unit and obligated men, by social pressure or by law, to be responsible for the wellbeing of the children they fathered. 
    I think Andy Ho's point is that marriage is a serious undertaking that is more than just about 'love' between two people. Marriage is meant to seal the commitment of 2 people not just to the idea of being together as husband and wife, but also to the challenges of rearing children and managing the family which, unfortunately, cannot arise naturally in the union between two people of the same sex.
    Andy Ho is not opposed to homosexual couples wanting to display their commitment to each other through an official union or the enactment of laws governing the rights of next-of-kin or inheritance. He is merely saying that the term marriage, in its traditional or contemporary sense, should not be redefined according to the whims of what still is, a minority group. Until sufficient members of society accept that marriage no longer means anything more than a symbol of love between 2 people, it should not be so casually trivialised at risk of damaging the foundations of society.

    • Sam

      I guess you never saw Romeo and Juliet then.

  • Idiots

    Separate but equal: you can give civil unions the same legal aspects of marriage but you can't give civil unions the social context. Which means that civil unions is not equal to marriage, then it becomes INJUSTICE.
     
    When i say social context, i mean it for EVERYBODY, gay or straight. Don't even attempt to exclude gay people from the term 'social', as they are very well part of the society.
     
    I have to ask Bluedot, has the government anulled any marriages with no children in it? Or has the government state the requirement of a medical check up result on fertility just like how one would need an identification card to register for a marriage. How about not marrying old couples?

    • BlueDot

      Hi Idiots. No, the government, in fact no one, cares whether 2 people are fertile enough to have children (except maybe our population policymakers). 
      But they WOULD care if children are found going without food, education or shelter. Not so much for the sake of humanity but rather that these would be become a social burden that no one, neither you, me nor the government wants to take on. The sole responsibility of children lies with the biological parents or legal guardians. Marriage allows society to obligate people to be responsible for the offspring which they have produced.
      I would like to ask then, what is the purpose of marriage?
      In fact i find it very strange that homosexual couples see it so necessary to seek recognition or a sense of acceptance from society through a traditionally heterosexual institution which is as much a source of abuse, despair and restricted freedom as it is about love and commitment.
      Acceptance will not come simply because homosexual marriage is legal. Similarly, homosexual couples do not need to be married to be accepted. You cant force attitudes by legislation. There is really no need to turn marriage into a symbol, the final frontier in the struggle for acceptance.

      • Idiots

        To me, marriage is both a legal and social contract to commit in a relationship.
        Not sure about incest/polygamy, haven't read about their argument yet, but if its harmless, then why not?(for incest probably should include mandatory sterilisation to prevent inbreeding)
         
        The purpose of marriage is not up to the majority to define, it is up to the individual. A golddigger may marry a rich person so that he/she becomes rich, that is the golddigger's purpose for marriage. For a loving sterile couple getting married, there could be different reasons; like wanting a legal contract, a form of commitment to each other, etc. Or from your point, as a form of restriction to the freedoms of both parties involved(i believe some  people do think it that way).
         
        In other words, in general consensus, there are multiple purposes for marriage, depending on who you ask, so there is no need to limit the purpose of marriage down to one thing, that is procreation.
         
        On parenting, children do not need biological parents, they need parents who are capable enough to provide the care and concern the child requires, beside the financial and the stability of the relationships between the parents. There is absolutely no need for you to put 'biological' parents there besides trying to point out that gays, lesbians and sterile couples can't produce children and therefore do not need to marry. Adoptions are available and gays and lesbians can become legal guardians of the child(in some other countries).
         
        Marriage is both a legal and social contract, which legally provides a bundle of benefits to the couple, while socially symbollise that the couple is in a loving and committed relationship. Gay people are brought up to think like that just like straight people do and you shouldn't wonder why they want to get married in the first place, because they want to marry for reasons that is the similar, if not the same, as straight people.
         
        Then we hop onto acceptance, acceptance will come after marriage equality through increased exposure of gay people to the society. Straight people will start to see how 'dangerous and destructive' they are and will become so satanic that they find gay people isn't as bad as they think they are  /end sarcasm. Main point is that currently the society is exposed to… well, only negative things about the LGBTs while being censored of contents that would seem to be 'promoting' homosexuality. This would only mean that the society has bad points about the LGBTs while having no good/neutral points that they have as a human. I would classify this as demonisation.
         
        Final 2 points:
        if marriage is 'just marriage', why are the anti-gay people harping on how letting gays marry will destroy the institution as if it was such an important institution of the society? How can marriage be unimportant and important at the same time?
         
        If marriage is significant to heterosexuals who can marry, why is it that you think marriage is not significant to homosexuals who want to marry too?

        • BlueDot

           
           
          I'm not sure if  you got my opinion but i'll just repeat it here. Marriage is something which is necessary BECAUSE of procreation and not the other way round. 
          A child does not need biological parents but a child's biological parents, barring exceptional circumstances, sure as hell better be the ones to take responsibility for its upbringing. I think it is the nature of all animals not to want to aid the survival of offspring which do not carry its own genes. I am speaking about marriage at a fundamental level, in terms of its original purpose. Your offspring are your responsibility and yours alone.
          There is really no need legally to bind two people together if there wasn't a larger purpose at stake. One does not have to marry his best friend simply because nothing comes out of it other than the mutual pleasure of one another's company. The success or destruction of that friendship has no effect on society.
          As for gay, lesbian and sterile couples, i think you are overlooking the fact that a sterile couple 'discovers' their sterility in their quest to reproduce. In fact people who have been surgically sterilized are also known to sometimes have their sterility reversed naturally, a small but still present  possibility. Homosexuals on the other hand have a zero possibility of procreating without involving a third party of the opposite sex. And if they do adopt, I dont see why the rights accorded through civil unions would be insufficient. How does not having a married status make it more difficult to raise a child if the necessary legislation is already provided for through civil unions?  Hence i dont feel it fair to mention sterile couples in the same breath as homosexual ones.
          Procreation is one of the unspoken duties imposed upon a member of society for the fact that society has to be self-sustaining. Those who reject this rule, including the couples who choose to remain childless, singles who are judged not to be trying hard enough to get hitched as well as those in homosexual relationships naturally face discrimination.
           
          Let's not pretend that marriage has nothing to do with procreation. It has everything to do with procreation, family and lineage which is exclusively a heterosexual thing.
          Marriage is not unimportant to heterosexual people. And perhaps gay people too recognize this hence they  try very hard to achieve a similar status. 
          By the way, did you mention we should sterilize incestuous couples? 
           
           
           

          • To Each His Own

            @ Bluedot

            In which case DIVORCE should be illegal

          • Dan

            Then maybe every heterosexual married couple must have kids, otherwise the state will annul their marriage? The arguement that only people with the intention have kids marry holds no water.

          • BlueDot

            Again let me say, at the fundamental level the whole purpose of marriage is as an institution in which procreation can take place in an orderly manner that secures parental responsibility, the family unit and lineage. If people have sex and a child is born, both parents should be made to be responsible for it. Marriage defines the family unit and with it, a person's lineage. Blur these lines and you will have genetically destructive cases of incest happen unknowingly.
            Divorce does not absolve either parent from responsibility for the children they have produced. And though not law, heterosexual couples who choose not to have kids do face social pressure and discrimination, not because people inherently resent self-determination but rather that such couples do not contribute to sustaining the continued existance of the society which they have benefitted by being a part of.
            Remove procreation from the equation and marriage at a fundamental level has no purpose. And procreation is exclusively a heterosexual thing.
            If we have to define marriage then the only people who have the right to change its definition are those who, based on the fundamental purpose of marriage being to manage procreation, first entered into such a union defined as such. In other words, it is not for anyone other than heterosexual couples to decide if they want the term 'marriage' to be more inclusive as this is exclusively their domain.
             

          • Sam

            Bluedot, you really do need to go and see Romeo and Juliet to appreciate why most people get married, and why there is nothing trivial about that. And the rights of a minority group must never be subject to the whims of a sometimes bigoted majority.

      • View Finder

        Here is a very practical reason for why "marriage" is significant.
         
        In some countries for example that only recognizes same sex unions but not same sex marriages, certain aspects of child rearing applies. For example, adoption might be legal for same sex unions but parental rights can only be claimed by one man and one woman. So a gay couple might both raise the same child (say you are the biological father, you came out and you divorced your wife and had a civil union with a man) but only one can be considered the father.
         
        So, back to the practical. Lets say the couple is now at the Emergency Response Unit and their child is fighting for his life. Only one father gets to see the child, usually the biological father . The other father can be denied access. It has happened before and it is terrible for the father who is denied access because of the technicality that is in the law. And it is terrible for the child to not have access to both parents.
         
        What I am saying is that the existence of a law or the non-existence of a law can have greater implications beyond what most people could even conceive of.
         
        And just this week, Robert Spitzer, the famous psychiatrist who is one of the main authors of the bible for dianosing mental health in the developed world, recanted the findings in his study. In that famous study, he had propunded the possibility that gay people could become "ungay" through some form of therapy. He finally admitted that his study was flawed and voiced his regrets that it was cited by so many groups, particularly religious conservatives, to benefit conservative causes. He also voiced regret at the suffering many gay individual have suffered as a result of what was published in the name of "an authority".
         
        It was Michel Foucault (French philosopher) who argued that the notion of sexuality is itself an instrument of power knowledge. So the discussion we should be having would comprise:
        1. Who should have the right to use the word marriage
        2. Why should some people and not others have exclusive rights to usage of "marriage"
        3. What does the word "marriage" mean 
        4. How would "sanctifying" the word iimpact the ways individuals live their lives etc etc.
         
        We are talking about CONSENSUAL unions. What is it about gay people that frightens us so much, even though they have not harmed anyone based on being gay, that we would deny them all the rights that so called heterosexual people enjoy. Do they also not pay taxes?

        • BlueDot

          If the law can be changed to accept that a child can have 2 fathers (as strange as it may be) then such emergency room situations as you have described will similarly be avoided through changing the law. Lets not get into trifling arguments.
          If we bemoan the inflated value ascribed to a so-called 'authority', then there is also litle to rejoice as his recantation should carry as little weight as his earlier pronouncements on gay minds. If what he proposed initially you regard as rubbish, then his reverse proposal should also not turn to intellectual gold simply because it now agrees with your own opinion.
          Gay unions do not frighten people. But gays do not have the right to trample on the rights of heterosexuals to define marriage for the reasons i have stated earlier.

          • View Finder

            You obviously have no idea who Robert Spitzer is. And yet everytime you or your loved ones go to the doctors,, anywhere in the world, and get a code for any kind of mental health issues, you are impacted by him.
             
            I was not bemoaning the inflated value that Spitzer propounded. I am only reporting that he recanted and suggesting what it might mean for how we look at homosexuality.

  • Steph

    BlueDot, marriage is a social contract between two people. If a couple  be it straight or gay wants to stay committed to each other to make a family (regardless of whether they decide to have children or not), why should one be denied of given basic rights such as buying a flat etc. The premise of our government's policies is very much pro-family so that citizens do not rely too much on state support. Therefore, it is highly contradictory if marriage is not legalised and disallowed for gay and lesbian couples. Providing a supportive and safe environment for gays and lesbians is essential if the government wants to solve social issues of a large ageing population of 'singles' in future as well as quelling of a rising AIDS epidemic among the gay community. While this is not the only solution of the latter problem, at least it sends a message to the gay community that committed relations between two people regardless of sexual orientation is highly encouraged by the government.
    Secondly, there are heterosexual couples adopt children or rely on other means to have children in modern context. Therefore, the concept of marriage has evolved and should include gays and lesbians who want to get married and adopt children. Furthermore, what about a divorced or single parent who wants to form a committed relationship with another person of the same sex? There is no valid reason to discriminate against these groups and deny them of rights given to heterosexual married couples with families because supporting the former will help to provide a safe and stable environment for couples to raise their children.
    Besides, being in a minority does not mean that they should not be accorded to basic rights. The concept of equality in our society as grounded in our Governing principles do not allow for any basic rights to be denied to any group of people.

    • BlueDot

      Hi Steph. Yes i agree with everything you have said. If it can be done without formenting anarchy, i see no reason why gay couples cannot be accorded the same rights as straight couples. Call it marriage or civil union, what is important is that it provides equality in all the practicalities of two people living together in a commited relationship.
      My concern is that marriage has a historical/traditional /cultural dimension that we should not dismiss so easily without first considering if society is ready for it. Hence my point that if the concept of marriage has evolved as you say on a large scale today, then yes, marriage and civil union can be interchangeable. No need for so much fuss over such a trivial thing.

  • Jack lee

    Problem is if this type of marriage spread how humanity can continue?
    Jack
    Vice President
    Kuda Club
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    • Idiots

      Straight people won't disappear, that's how humanity can continue. In case they do(which is impossible, because Netherlands is still populated with straight people.) , there'd be surrogacy, since we have sperms and eggs and wombs.
       
      anywhos, if we allow abortion, how will humanity continue?
      if we allow sterile people to marry, how will humanity continue?
      If we allow people to stay single, how will humanity continue?
      by now, i think you get my point, that is you are exaggerating.

      • MaBe

        What a load of rubbish! The sanctity of marriage includes procreation. For the gay community, a social contract incorporating rights for their needs should suffice. Just as BlueDot indicated, it should be done without formenting anarchy and without disparaging the concept of marriage in society.

        • Idiots

          the government disagrees. there are NO regulations over procreation in a marriage, period.

          • Mabe

            Good grief. If you need governmental regulations for every single socio/personable things you need to accomplish in life, you are really in trouble. AND that speaks volume of your perceptions in life…….

      • Dun be an idiot

        Idiots,
        I am not against gay couple as it is their right to choose their life. Some of my close friends are homosexuals.
         
        My point is this, it is alright to have same sex union if you want to. It is your choice to choose whom you want to love and be together with. But what the society is not ready is for some lobbyist groups to try and shove down such ideals into the society's throat. It will take sometimes for our society to evolve and accept homosexuality. Pushing the agenda hard when the society is not ready will definitely lead to a backlash.
         
        Even in Europe when homosexuality are recognised, there are backlash by some religious institutions, because while these institutions do accept same sex union, they had been forced by the gay lobbyist through legislation to conduct religious marriage ceremony for the same-sex couples, when these religious institutions do not recognise same sex marriage.
         
        The issue is not as simple as black and white. Society will change but it will take times. If you are not patient with Singapore's society, my advice is to leave this country and find a place where your lifestyle is more acceptable. Life is simple, why make it so complicated.
         
         
         
         
         
         

        • Sam

          “they had been forced by the gay lobbyist through legislation to conduct religious marriage ceremony for the same-sex couples, when these religious institutions do not recognise same sex marriage”

          Totally untrue scaremongering.

  • piero

    As usual, these faggots making irritaing noise. we dont need you. please migrate away.  

  • piero

    it is precisely of these faggots that singapore will  绝子绝孙
    Get rid of all these vermins. Just like my idiotic brother also a vermin faggot. Disowned him long ago and thank GOD had migrated to faggot land USA

    • Mr Faggot

      That’s MR Faggot to you, homophobic creep!

  • Idiots

    i have to ask why will same sex marriage degrade marriage? Is it religious reasons or just on your own whims that gay people marrying will devalue straight marriage.

    • Dun be an idiot

      Hi Idiot,
       
      Do some checks on what is happening in Europe, especially in Britain. Some religious institutions there are fighitng back on same sex marriage for one reason, while they have accepted same sex union, people like you are forcing the Church, mosques and synagoges to perform rituals for these gay couples.
       
      Whether gay people marrying will devalue marriage is another issue. What I am taking you to task is for lobbyist group like yourself  forcing down your ideal to society when they are not ready. It will take time for society to change. You will get a bloody nose if you force something into people's throat when they are not ready to accept your point. If you cannot wait and think Singapore's environment is not good for your lifestyle,  migrate to another country. Singaporeans have migrated overseas to find a better job, education for their children etc etc.
       
       

      • piero

        Dust dont be bothered bt these faggots. They want as much air time as possible. Just banish them to timbaktu and they will live happily married to the baboons

      • Sam

        “people like you are forcing the Church, mosques and synagoges to perform rituals for these gay couples.”

        Totally untrue scaremongering.

  • Sg boy

    This has nothing to do with whether society is 'ready' or not. Progress follows a linear direction, acceptance of homosexuality throws us back to the dark ages where all kinds of sexual perversity is condoned.
    Homosexual behaviour is part of a backwards, degenerate culture refuses to accept the complementarity of the human sexes, and tries to place selfish, unnatural lust at the apex of individual freedom.
     
    Thankfully our Asian heritage has kept us from falling into that perverse pit of lust and sodomy, so we don't have the same kind of ridiculous challenges to marriage that the crumbling Western world faces.
     
    Good to see that there are many voices to put down the gay voice.
     
    TOC stop being the mouthpiece of gays, this website should be for SINGAPOREANS and SINGAPOREAN ISSUES, not some homosexual hook-up corner.

    • Sam

      What are you doing later?

  • anti-gay

    Gays are sick. Tahnk goodness they are illegal in Singapore.

    • iLIKEgay

      would a normal sane person married with the same sex? ow to procreate baby? the primeister himself would had married the same sex if his boyfren can bore a son

    • Sam

      Anigays are really intelllijunt.

  • Tggdp

    Thank goodness (most) gays don't procreate. Bad genes should not be passed on.
    As the above poster said, Singapore is not ready for this. Just because other countries have degenerated to the point of accepting immorality as normal doesn't mean we have to. U need to come up with a better reason other than "cos other people are doing it too". Learn to make better arguments
     

    • Wrong, friend!

      Thats where you are wrong, my friend. The gays are closeted because society puts a tremendous amount of pressure against them to 'change' their orientation.
      So they end up getting married to opposite sex partners and yet pass those 'genes' down, whether physically or by teaching their children their 'values'. It's a vicious cycle, isn't it?

    • View Finder

      All the despots and tyrants in the world are created by heterosexual couples. Hitler and Mao included.
       
      What a surprise!

      • Midnite

        View Finder,
        All the despots and tyrants in the world are created by heterosexual couples. Hitler and Mao included.
         
        What a surprise!
         
        ——————————————————————
         
        @View Finder
        Aren't you relieved that both your parents are of different sex??
         
         

  • Other Side Of Midnite

    What makes you think legalising 'same-sex' marriages or whatever 'same-sex' union will make it acceptable in our society? Still you will get a tight slap or if 'unlucky' a knockout punch if you infringed beyond the personal space of others just like what Will Smith done to that reporter. So do your own 'thingy' but leave society & the marriage institutions alone.

    • Ng Yi-Sheng

      Just so you understand our perspective: how would you feel if the law told you you couldn't marry the person you love?  And if they told you that you were free to do your own 'thingy' with her (I'm assuming you're a man) but to leave the institution of marriage alone?
       
      We're not going to get married to anyone who doesn't *want* to get married to us. And as for leaving society alone – well, we're part of society too.

      • Other Side Of Midnite

        That very much depends on the definition of marriage as institutionalised by our society ie: Singapore
        Before a new law can be enacted, the term 'marriage' must be clearly defined and accepted by the society at large.

        • Sam

          You don’t mean by society, you mean by you.

          Gay people getting married to eachother reinforces the stability of society.

  • Ng Yi-Sheng

    Here's a link to Andy Ho's original editorial, that's now been archived. (I'm hoping TOC adds it to the main body of this article, so folks can understand the context.)

    http://sgwiki.com/wiki/Archive_of_The_Straits_Times_article,_%22Same-sex_union_can%27t_be_labelled_%27marriage%27%22,_19_May_2012

  • seow eh

    Cannot.. Any two men or women can just declare marriage and get a house.. Funny is it?
    What next? Father daughter? Grandmother grandson? Owner dog?

  • Pingback: Daily SG: 21 May 2012 « The Singapore Daily

  • Big AL

    Equating marriage to Mcdonalds or the EPL demeans marriage itself as an instutution. Marriage is not a commercial brand name or profit making business. The comparison is not relevant at all….

    • Sam

      True. Also Macdonalds offers different types of burger under the same brand name, just as there are different types of marriage in many countries, including same sex marriage.

  • Singaporean

    My gay friend wants to marry his partner so that he can enjoy his company's medical benefits for spouse.  Also payout from  life/accident insurance coverage in case he dies in the course of work. These are practical reasons.

  • straight

    @singaporean
    Then I believe its the ‘company insurance’ that must create a policy for gays.. for housing both must be 35 as per singles.. the partner who is not the biological parent to the child( if any) is legal guardian .. whatever policy made for the gay community( if approved ) should be a separate and ‘ special case’.. they shouldn’t go through the same current policy for normal marriage .. that would cause much unhappiness I believe ..
    and last but not least,ONLY SINGAPOREAN GAYS PLEASE.. once again.. if approved ..

  • Goh

    Marriage is exclusively between a man and woman…and a family nucleus is all about one man one woman who give birth to their own children – blood of the blood, flesh of the flesh!
    Any attempt to change it is simply a freakish and deviating act, and I'm glad Singapore government will not allowed this, and had not bow to freaky pressures in repealing penal code S377A!
    Singapore must stay as a sane one man one woman family nucleus family!

    • S.O.S.

      Amen to that.

    • Sam

      Marriage is a secular, civil contract.

  • SHT

    Marriage is between a man and a woman! How did you gay people come into this world without your mother? WTF!

    • Sam

      Logical disconnect.

  • Deej81

    @BlueDot: you claim your concern is " that marriage has a historical/traditional /cultural dimension that we should not dismiss so easily without first considering if society is ready for it." This is exactly the kind of disingenuous pseudo social-intellectual argument that slavery proponents used in America to prop up their slavery traditions. They would have us think slavery has "strong, deep roots" in our culture – the undermining of which would tear society down. What they really were defending was their own systematic, cruel oppression and enslavement of a people they could barely come to see as human beings with feelings and basic rights as equal as their own. If slavery abolitionists and blacks had politely waited for society to be “ready for change”, I'm prepared to bet there would have been no civil rights movement, no Martin Luther King, nothing.
     
    The very same “cultural” arguments were used by white supremacists centuries later to openly ban interracial marriage in America. They claimed marrying a black would spoil the white gene pool, lead to social chaos, destruction of American family values etc. Today, there is still some prejudice against interracial marriage, but noone can say that the level of anti-interracial union rhetoric has increased. The fact is, that it has decreased plenty, thanks in large part to abolition of the anti-interracial marriage laws. It is common now to find interracial couples in pop culture and white-black couples are so many, you'd be hard-pressed to find any raised eye-brows. Without this crucial piece of legislation flying in the face of a “conservative majority”, there is no way that Americans would have come to accept interracial marriage as legitimate and fruitful and moved on.
     
    When you claim you are so concerned if “society” is ready for legalising gay marriage, aren't you really saying that you yourself are not ready for it? You seek comfort in the existence of a supposed majority who are not ready for gay marriage. I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of a gay Singaporean who happens to have a loving monogamous partner. Of course, you will be a minority – but does that mean you are any less entitled to marry the love of your life, when in fact you have satisified all requirements for a loving long-term relationship – the very foundation of strong family values – the very same values the majority loves to trumpet in their cause? Would you patiently wait for society to evolve, or would you do everything in your power to change it, no matter how little? If you think the majority – if it exists – has every right to deny the right of marriage to a minority, then aren't you allying yourself with the values promoted by the pro-slavery, pro-white supremacist movements? Are you that bigoted?
     
    I honestly don't think you are. The problem is, your words and actions are discriminating and hurting people – people who may be your beloved friends and family. Has anyone ever come out of the closet to you? Just because they have not done so, or you have not suspected any “queerness”, does not mean none of your loved ones are gay. The reality might surprise you. I challenge you to ask yourself, if your son / daughter / any loved one comes out to you, what would you say to them? Words of comfort, to wait for Singapore to evolve, to get out of the country, or to fight for your rights?
     
    Or in another case, assuming that you are happily married in heterosexual bliss, and a friend/family comes out to you. It looks like their homosexual relationship is serious and monogamous. Can you honestly look at your own wedding ring in the same way again? Or to go even further, let's say you are going to get married to your girlfriend. Now your best buddy comes out of the closet and introduces his boyfriend of 5 years going strong. You know very well they can never marry in Singapore. Would you still marry your girl knowing fully well your buddy deserves the right just as much as you? Or would you just tell them, “Yeah it sucks to be you”, and laugh it off like the trivial matter it is?
     
    Even better – would you give them one of your platitudes, like, “If it can be done without formenting anarchy, i see no reason why gay couples cannot be accorded the same rights as straight couples.”? If you still do, I grant, you may have their safety at heart and don't want them to get hurt in a gay bashing. Still, aren't you telling them to just give up, and let others do the fighting just because “society is not ready for it”? If every person thought like you, would society even function, let alone progress? Is your love for them really conditional on their conforming to your vision of a heterosexual normative Singapore transitioning peacefully towards gay acceptance at an intolerably glacial pace? Just because you have been handed the privelege to marry on a silver platter, through no special effort of yours, does not mean you get to withold that right to others. Neither does it mean you get to patronisingly tell gays to “calmly wait their turn” without inducing provocation – that's just a delaying tactic in political parlance – and the worst kind of insult to our intelligence.
     

    • Sam

      Excellent post.

  • Pukepuke

    Next thing you know, people will be demanding to be married to their pet dogs and cats.

    • Sam

      Yes because there is such a demand for it and animals can enter legal contracts. Duh!

      • Deej81

        Lol, nice one Sam

  • Idiots

     
    The purpose of marriage:
    1. origin of marriage – contract between two men, one to sell his virgin daughter to another man as wife. If daughter is faulty (cannot procreate/ not virign), the contract is nulled.
    .
    .
    .
    2. religion tries to hijack marriage and give it another meaning, love and committment.
    .
    .
    .
    3. state gives a bundle of rights to the word/institution called 'marriage'.
     
    And those who advocate only for civil unions, under legal considerations, civil unions = marriage. Hence, its pointless to add another name when there is already one in place.
     
    If you are concerned with marriage's meaning, its already devalued… by the way. By the current laws you can nullify a marriage if your couple do not want to consummate with you. Yes, sex. Marriage is sex. Moreover, there's divorce, which dissolves a marriage. 'Marriage' in singapore does not include polygamy too, so much for the traditional marriage. What about banning of interfaith/interrace? If redefining marriage means devaluing it, then in your terms marriage is now 'devalued' beyond belief.(pun intended)
     
     
    Words can change according to time and place and marriage is a word that changes. Deny it as much as you want, people believe what they want about marriage, this is the truth. And another truth is that not allowing SSM is limiting others, while allowing frees others to choose as they prefers.
     
    Marriage is not neccessary for procreation, it is a social taboo to have babies out-of-wedlock, referred to as 'bastards'. But no, it is not a must for there to be marriage in order for procreation to happen.
     
    If in any case churhes(or other religious institutions) are forced to perform SSM, then it should be the case that gay couples not to have the right to do that because the church should be allowed to refuse these things.
     
     Marriage is not about making babies. If i were to shut two of my eyes tightly, i might say that marriage is about the REARING of children.  Because as i have said there before there are no regulations on fertility checks before granting couples this 'sacred' title, ALONG WITH THE BENEFITS. Means that even if you can't pop one out, you can still get married, even though they 'do not need the support' ! Rearing of children can be done by gay couples as well. Lineage becomes confusing when people divorce and remarries. Ban divorce please.
     
    Prevention of incest can be done by have mandatory DNA testing before marrying. There, i have solve the problem of accidental incest. (and i'm for incest, for now, eventhough i stand to be corrected due to my lack of knowledge about this issue. Solve inbreeding by sterilising one/both of the couples.)
     
    And yes marriage has no fundamental purpose, except what is defined by the couple going into one. People don't marry for the same reason, get over it.
     
    If you can get dogs to understand what you actually mean by marriage(legal) and that you know that they are consenting and not just trying to say yes because you want them to, then yeah, you can marry your dog. However, currently, you can't get dog's consent nor you can get your dog to understand marriage(legal).
     
     

    To people afraid of backlash, it is a good thing, at least then the police will come into play and start arresting rioters. Then we can bring up the next issue, freedom of speech/association/assembly. I make lemonades.

     
     
    Go through a few civil rights issue in the past and you will notice something similar to LGBT rights.
     
    side note: trans can marry, even though they cannot procreate. It says a lot about how marriage is 'fundamentally for procreation'.

  • seow eh

    Last time I checked,fire balls start to shoot down from the sky.. So to all the gays out there.. proof me wrong…

    • Sam

      You’re delusional.

    • Idiots

      What's the point of this? that you are too immerse into fantasy stories that you start to hallucinate?

  • Pingback: Does Singapore Need a Bobby Griffith? « whyigiveup

  • Leslie

    I'm so ashamed to be Singaporean when I read these comments. I don't even know where to start. If this is representative of the average Singaporean, then Singaporeans have gotten the society they deserve – a society of angry, hate-filled bigots who want to tear out each other's throats. I'm not convinced that things will change in Singapore – I'm pretty sure things have only gotten worse over time. Yale, please don't come to Singapore. Educated Westerners, please don't come to Singapore. Singaporeans at Singapore Day in London and New York, please don't think anything has gotten better – it hasn't. And then Singaporeans wonder why they the only foreigners who want to come here are not the sensitive, intelligent kind.

    • Sam

      The problem is that gay people are seriously disrespected by the government through the symbolism of 377a, and that leads other people to believe they can get away with it. A better example of inclusiveness should be set.

TOC TV

Archives