by Martin Piper
I’m very concerned about the comments from National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS), Archbishop William Goh and Pergas who all used spurious rhetoric such as “threaten the importance of the traditional family unit as the foundation of a society” and “concern towards moral and social values, that can affect the family institution as well as the fabric of society”. This is because my family is “not traditional” in the sense that it is racially and religiously mixed.
What they wrote reminds me of the rhetoric used by Ku Klux Klan, a religious organisation, and the Southern Baptists Church when they misinterpreted the Bible (See here) regarding not allowing the “Tribes” to mix.
History has taught us that we must be careful when people misrepresent their holy books because they start with one minority group and slowly work towards excluding other groups then try to create a theocracy. We obviously don’t want that in Singapore.
I can imagine a scenario back in the 15th and 16th centuries when Chinese immigrants came to the Malay archipelago and religious leaders started going on about “threatening traditional families”. Perhaps because these “leaders” were scared of change, scared of seeing their faithful marrying outside their religions, so they try to scare people away from getting married or racially mixing.
In that scenario then we might not have the added rich heritage of Peranakan in the region now? So when I see religious “leaders” saying such things I have to wonder, are these the kind of religious “leaders” we really want to see in Singapore?
What they wrote also seems to not be supported by any reliable facts. Married couples will not suddenly split, they will not suddenly stop having children and children will not suddenly become gay. In fact, there is no rational threat to families when repealing 377A at all.
I challenge these groups making spurious claims to actually provide reliable scientific facts, since they have not done so thus far. Contrary to their ideas about harm, the United Nations and other highly regarded institutions confirm that repealing 377A will bring a whole host of benefits (See here).
Logically, rationally speaking, when 377A is repealed and LGBT people can legally marry the result of that, note not “consequence”, will be more people getting married, which means more people able to enjoy more stable long term loving relationships. They will be able to raise children because LGBT people are not generally sterile and they can procreate, or adopt.
This means our birthrate will rise, not fall, it means a more sustainable population growth. They will enjoy the benefits that the rest of society gets from their marriages. This is only a positive thing for society, there are no real negatives.
What I expect will actually happen when 377A is repealed, introducing more equality, is that over time people will realise that other families are just part of the normal variation in society and should be afforded the same kind of respect as everyone else, to really live and let live. Just as racial equality introduced more understanding of variation and a richer more compassionate society.