SINGAPORE - The Catholic Church in Singapore has reiterated its position that marriage is between a man and a woman but added that it respects the dignity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
In response to media queries, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore on Sunday (July 31) said LGBTQ people should also respect the Church's rights to maintain its position on marriage and that the family unit comprises a father, mother and their children.
It said: "The fruitfulness of marriage also necessitates that marriage must be open to procreation."
Should Section 377A of the Penal Code - which criminalises sex between men - be repealed, the concern is for marriage between a man and a woman to remain the institution of nature that is safeguarded, the statement said.
It could even be enshrined in the Constitution, it added.
The statement said: "We applaud and support the Government's clear articulation of its position on marriage and are assured that it is looking at safeguarding its current position of the law which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
"It is our hope that the safeguards on marriage and our freedom to proclaim and teach without fear or favour what we believe is recognised and maintained."
As for the Protect Singapore Townhall last weekend, the Church said the organisers and participants are individuals who have a right to speak up and defend marriage, so long as they are not denigrating of others.
On July 23, about 1,200 people, including Christian and Muslim leaders, took part in the event, called Protect Singapore Townhall. It was organised by Mr Jason Wong and Mr Mohamed Khair Mohamed Noor, who argued that retaining Section 377A was needed to protect families, the institution of marriage, children and freedom.
The Ministry of Home Affairs last Monday said police reports relating to the town hall were filed but it was not taking any action against the organisers as there was no criminal offence disclosed.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said the Government has had extensive discussions with different people on Section 377A of the Penal Code.
While many Singaporeans agree that sex between men should not be a crime, most also do not want the current position of marriage being between a man and a woman to be changed, he added.
The Government, he said, is considering how best to balance this.