Saint Andrew, founding member of NCCS.

Churches want 377A to remain in order to preserve the sanctity of marriage

Unsurprisingly, churches in Singapore have come out on the side of keeping Section 377A of the Penal Code. That law is in line with their religious beliefs and values after all.

In a statement recently, the National Council of Churches in Singapore (NCCS) voiced their opposition to the petition to repeal Section 377A. The statement said that the Council, which represents about 200 churches, believes that the homosexual lifestyle is harmful to individuals, families, and society as a whole.

The council reiterated that it agrees with the ruling of Singapore’s apex court in 2014 that Section 377A is indeed constitutional. The council then draws from the bible, saying that the holy book “clearly and categorically prohibits homosexual behaviour because it is a perversion of the way in which God had ordered human sexual relationships.”

The statement then goes on to say that repealing 377A would normalise and promote that lifestyle, calling it a ‘slippery slope’ which would then lead to undesirable social and moral consequences.

Echoing that sentiment, the Alliance of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches of Singapore also voiced their support in a statement for 377A to remain. The Alliance representing about 50 churches said that “Singapore is a nation that remains unique in its strong preservation of family values – including its view on marriage as a union between a man and a woman.”

Chairman of the Alliance Reverend Dominic Yeo said, "When viewed in relation to Sections 375 through 377C, Section 377A serves a broader purpose of setting a moral position with regard to sexual activities and relationships, and in turn strengthen the social fabric of society.”

He went on to say that repealing Section 377A on the basis of being outdated will inevitable also call into action the legitimacy and morality of every other sections in the Penal Code as well.

But seems the main argument in support of retaining Section 377A in the Penal Code revolves around the so-called sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. The law itself specifically criminalises sex between two men (not women) and doesn’t speak of marriage at all. Clearly, the law is discriminatory.

Decriminalising homosexual acts between men merely affords them the same rights as two women or an unmarried male-female couple to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes without the state calling it a crime.

Yes, you could argue that repealing 377A will eventually lead to legalising gay marriage and that is a cause of concern for churches and other religious institutes, but isn’t the law of the state supposed to be free of religion anyway? Why do we continue to allow the state to police the private lives of its citizens when they aren’t harming anyone with their behaviour?