Catholic Church says marriage is between man and woman, amid 377A debate

a pair of gold wedding rings, a judge's hammer on a wooden table background. family law
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SINGAPORE — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore has said that, should the law that criminalises gay sex be repealed, its concern is for marriage to remain between man and woman.

In a statement released on its website on Sunday (31 July), the Archdiocese added that while it respects the dignity of LGBTQR (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer rights) persons, the LGBTQ community should also respect the Catholic Church's rights to maintain its position on marriage.

"Marriage is between a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of life and love, where both partners complement each other," it said in its statement. "The fruitfulness of marriage also necessitates that marriage must be open to procreation.

"However, we also respect the dignity of LGBTQR persons. They too should respect our rights to maintain our position on marriage and that the family unit comprises a father, mother and their children."

Government considering whether to repeal 377A

The statement is in response to Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam saying on Saturday that the Singapore government is looking at how it can safeguard the current legal position on marriage against challenges in the courts, while it considers whether to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code.

The minister told reporters that the government has had extensive discussions with religious leaders, grassroots leaders, Singaporeans from all walks of life, as well as representatives of the LGBTQ groups on 377A.

He said that while many Singaporeans agree that sex between men should not be a crime, they also do not want the current position of marriage being between a man and a woman to be changed. The government is considering how best to balance these views.

The Archdiocese said in its statement that, should 377A be repealed, its concern is for marriage between man and woman to remain "the institution of nature" that is "safeguarded and even enshrined" in the Constitution of Singapore as the natural structure of human society.

"We applaud and support the government’s clear articulation of its position on marriage and are assured that they are looking at safeguarding their current position of the law which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman," it said in its statement.

"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."

'Protect Singapore Townhall' meeting

The Archdiocese statement also comes after a closed-door meeting "Protect Singapore Townhall" on 23 July, which had called for the protection of families, marriages and children in relation to a possible repeal of Section 377A. The meeting was attended by about 1,200 people.

"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," it said.

The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) had voiced its concern over views aired at the closed-door meeting, saying that LGBTQ rights do not impinge on the rights of straight people.

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