SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Oct 23) weighed in on the two-day Parliamentary debate over Section 377A, which criminalises sex between men.
Stating his own position and the Govermment's position, Mr Lee explained why the status quo must remain, despite the 'legal untidiness and ambiguity'.
Quoting Stuart Koe from Fridae.com, an initiator of the Repeal 377A petition who called on the Government to either 'put the gun down' or 'pull the trigger', Mr Lee pointed out it will be 'unwise' to do so.
'If we force the issue and settle the matter definitively one way or the other, we will never reach an agreement... Instead of forging a consensus, we will divide and polarise our society', he explained.
Mr Lee pointed out that many who oppose homosexuality, do so in deeply held religious convictions, especially Christians and Muslims.
Abolition of Section 377A, he pointed out, will not give gay rights activists what they really want - more space and full acceptance by Singaporeans.
The more gay activists push their agenda, he said, the stronger will be the push back from conservative forces in society.
Mr Lee pointed to the current wave of support shown by those who want to keep Section 377A. 'The result will be counterproductive, as it will lead to less space for homosexuals in Singapore,' he said.
The Prime Minister also believes that if Section 377A was repealed, "gay activists will push for more" - for example, changing what is taught in schools, advocating same-sex marriages and parenting.
Stressing yet again that Singapore is still a conservative society that values the conventional family unit, Mr Lee said what's needed is to "strike a balance".
When neccessary, he said the Government will move even if the issue is unpopular or controversial.
"We will stay one step behind the frontline of change... Watch how things work out elsewhere, before making any any irrevocable moves.
"We were right to uphold the family unit when Western countries went for experimental lifestyles in the 1960s. We are right to accomodate homosexuals in our society, but not to encourage activists to champion gay rights the way they do in the West."
His bottomline: "Let us keep this balance and leave S377A alone."