24 May 2007

Harmless traits can be criminalised, says minister

Minister of State for Education Lui Tuck Yew told students that even if homosexual orientation is inborn, even if it causes no harm to others, it is still legitimate to criminalise its expression, since "a major segment of society is [not] ready to move." Dislike is enough to overturn equality and civil rights - goes his argument. Full essay.


boon said...

Just some general thoughts on the issue.

No one knows the exact causes of homosexuality, and there's no proof that it's 100% genetic. So we can safely say it is at least partly caused by the environment.

Now, I'm perfectly fine with gay friends and colleagues. So is the government, hence their policy on hiring gays even in sensitive positions.

What I don't wish to happen is for my kids to be homosexual. I would be saddened if they would not set up families of their own.

We've already established that the environment plays a part in homosexuality. So logically, I would not want my kids to be brought up in an environment that encourages it.

But at the same time, I won't want them to discriminate against gay either.

Contradictory? Probably yes. But I would not support any changes that could promote a homosexual lifestyle.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Boon - you are being affected by the misinformation being spread around.

Just because sexual orientation is not entirely due to genes doesn't meant that the ONLY alternative possibility is the social "environment".

If anything, that is the one cause that has been ruled out by scientific research, due to the COMPLETE lack of evidence after 100 years of trying to find some.

The likely non-genetic causes of homosexuality are also biological, e.g. hormones, effect of womb conditions (antibodies), etc.

In words, no one can influence another person to change from one degree of sexual orientation to another.

Think about this: gay boys and girls all grow up in predominantly heterosexual environments, yet they still turn out gay. Why haven't they been "influenced" to be straight? Because sexual orientation cannot be influenced.

"Influenced to be gay" are just unfounded fears. Look at the example of Britain (see my sidebar) and you'll see a whole society realising that these fears simply aren't true.

Teck Soon said...

And because of attitudes like that (parents fearful of children being gay), if a child really is gay and can't help it, they often turn to either living a lie or committing suicide because of the depression brought on by unacceptance of parents and society. Put yourself into the position of a gay teen. Life's already hard enough.

Fearful parents who support laws sending gays for imprisonment (Section 377A) may end up with a gay child who won't tell them that they are gay, who will grow distant, commit suicide or leave Singapore forever. They may get married and have children of their own because of parental pressure, but they will still be gay. Would you want your daughter to marry a closeted gay because his parents forced him to turn straight, or he was afraid of telling them, and chose to live a lie instead? It seems very cruel to the girl. Gays are closeted and depressed because of these kinds of parents, and go on to ruin other peoples' lives when they marry a straight girl because they worry that their parents would hate them if they did not.

Singapore's gay bars and clubs are packed to the brim. Gays are everywhere. Mediacorp should do a survey asking parents how many of them have gay children. I bet Singapore is a country with lots of gay children, but only other peoples' children, because no one knows about their own kids. I suspect that very few parents even know their children are gay, and in supporting these laws are condemning their own children. Maybe they told the kids often that they were going to keep gay influences away to keep them from "turning gay". Imagine the kids horror when they discover their sexuality then. Seems like pretty bad parents who don't even know their children. I feel really sad about these peoples' lives.

It won't be your fault if your kids turn out gay! But if one does happen to turn out gay, they'll love you a lot more if you're understanding and caring. Otherwise, you might never even know your own kids if they have to keep it secret from you.

Pandemonium said...


What I don't wish to happen is for my kids to be homosexual. I would be saddened if they would not set up families of their own.

If you don't mind me asking, would you be saddened to the same degree if your children turns out straight, but chooses not to have children instead (which is an increasing trend these days)?

Robert L said...

To quote an extract of what Boon said,
"We've already established that the environment plays a part in homosexuality. So logically, I would not want my kids to be brought up in an environment that encourages it."

That is absolutely, totally false, and yet that is precisely what 99% of the heterosexual population imagines.

Consider this: even torture or any other kind of treatment cannot make a homo straight. If there were any cure for homosexuality, you can be damn sure there will be a super long queue to sign up for it, the inventor of the cure would become richer than Bill Gates. Which homo, in their right mind, does not want to be cured to become straight???

Am I saying it loud enough?

So now, look at the reverse - how can any torture turn a straight guy queer? How can any treatment turn a straight guy queer? It has to be equally impossible, right?

How can we help the Singapore population to learn the simple logic that no environment can influence their straight children to turn into gays? Even torture cannot do that.

Yawningbread has given the right answer to Boon, but I thought that perennial misconception deserves a more imaginative response.

YCK said...

Lui sounds like the five foundation type of Haidt. That was a well-written post. Did not think about Chau Mui Hoong in that context till you worte it :)

Basically, I see the paradigm as a mirror held up to the liberals and conservatives. If they would just look into it, they would have more accurate self-assessments and not do or say silly or hypocrtical things.

Lui should take a look.

Anonymous said...


If you're afraid of your children being homosexual just because they won't be able to have families, perhaps you can accept that there are many different family 'models' out there (e.g. adoption, surrogate mother). It would be a kinder approach than to put pressure on your children to change (if it were at all possible) or alienate them out of fear.

Also, you seem to be throwing around some terms rather ambiguously. Would you care to explain what you mean by 'an environment which encourages homosexuality' or '(to) promote a homosexual lifestyle'?

Anonymous said...

a couple of POINTS.
1. to 'Boon'- when you have kids, you have absolutely no control over their sexual proclivities.
2. The comments made by this Minister are absurd, vile, and ignorant.
3.All this further fuel confused teens, with their sexuality, and when they know that they are gay,they maybe forced in live their lives 'in the closet', for the usual reasons- family, jobs, etc....
That is most detrimental to their minds, serves no positive results,
again and again, the topic of homosexuality is crimilized by some Minister or other.
I just cannot understand the continous cruxification of homosexuality in Singapore? Everytime, gays in Singapore make some headway, they appear to be 'smacked down the food chain'?
We are no different than hetros, except that I think, we are generally a much brighter lot.

Anonymous said...

Well I won't pay too much attention to this Lui. He is a back-door MP that came through Tg Pagar GRC. Yet another scholar-general from the SAF or in this case the navy. He may be a picked minister but to me he hasn't proven himself to Singaporeans.

Robert L said...

Minister Lui compared homosexuality with incest to further his arguements that criminalisation of homosexuality may be justified.

I'll risk exposing my ignorance, but I have to ask this question because I'm confused: is it really true that incest is a criminal offence? Is it really true that two adults who are brother and sister, if they are caught having sex together, may be jailed?

As far as I can remember, all the reports of incest cases have been committed against children of the families. The natural revulsion of the Singapore public against incest offenders have been because they committed sexual offences against children - children under their care. So it's likely that the laws against incest are a more severe subset of laws against sexual crimes committed on children in general.

So is Minister Lui confused, and confusing us, when he used incest to compare with homosexuality?

Could it be Minister Lui is confusing criminal law with civil laws on incest, which enable the Registry of Marriage to reject applicants based on incest? If this is the case, then I'll point out that the ROM can also rule against homosexual marriage in Singapore and that should keep Minister Lui happy.

Minister Lui has been proven wrong on each and every one of his other points, and if he is also wrong on this incest issue, then he has scored 100% - quite a record-breaking achievement to be wrong 100% of all the points that he made.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Incest is a criminal offence. Section 376 of the Penal Code prescribes a jail term of up to 5 years; this applies to both male and female offenders. A higher jail term of up to 14 years is specified in the case of a man committing incest with a girl under 14 years of age.

Under the proposed amendments to tbe Penal Code, this Section will be renumbered 376F.

In my view adult consensual incest is another of those things that rarely happens anyway (how many people have any interest in that???), and even when it does, there is little chance of anyone getting hurt.

However, I maintain that there is a small chance of an injured 3rd party - when a child is conceived from it, and that child suffers medical defects due to inbreeding.

That makes incest different (and riskier) from homosexual sex. Because of this, one can make the argument that incest should remain criminal, yet such an argument does not apply to homosexual sex.

As for incest with young children, I don't think we should even call it incest, because if we do, we see it as a form of sex. To me it's child abuse and there are laws that deal with it.

Hence, it is possible to say: Do away with incest laws (if you think that inbreeding is too small a risk to worry about), and still have the means to protect children - through child abuse laws.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

I just thought of something - Christian fundamentalists will read what we are discussing here and feel completely vindicated.

"You see, I told you so - these radical aetheists, secularists, faggots, bleeding-heart liberals, etc, are now discussing the repeal of incest laws! The slippery slope we warned you about is nigh. Once a society starts considering legalising homosexuality, they'll move on to legalising incest, then bestiality, then satan-worship, and eventually make it compulsory to eat your children."

Sigh. And all I thought was that since we've been given intellect, we should use it to explore ideas, concepts and the greater universe.

Robert L said...

Dear Yawningbread

Thank you very much indeed for clearing up my confusion.

And you're quite right on all your additional points. Incest between two consenting adults are really rare, so rare that I've not seen any reports at all.

Further, incest between two adult brothers can hardly cause any harm to any third party, unless third parties choose to butt in and generate the harm.

Anonymous said...

Say what you like, it all boils down to one word SIN. It is a sin issue pure and simple. I do pray that the merciful God will open your eyes in time for you to repend. The fools have said that there is no God. They are blinded beyond hope. Their depraved minds are so full of filth and their ears are itching to hear what pleases them.

Non-Xian Anonymous said...

Perhaps Christian anonymous should have a good "open mind open eyes" read of Evil Bible (dot) comand learn how truly merciful your "GOD" was and where is he now? Why don't HE,SHE or IT just show thyself and tell US ALL which "god" is the only one so that we can stop fighting in the name of "GOD".