Shanmugam on Section 377A: Ministers should refrain from expressing personal views

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam addresses parliament on Thursday, 3 March 2022 during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate (SCREENGRAB: YouTube channel)
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam addresses parliament on 3 March 2022 (SCREENSHOT:

SINGAPORE — If there were changes in the law on Section 377A, the government would work through the potential impact and consequences, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Friday (11 March).

Shanmugam was responding to a question at the State of the Family 2022 event on whether there would be changes to sexuality education if Section 377A were repealed.

His comments on Section 377A, which criminalises sex between men but is not proactively enforced, come a week after he delivered a statement in Parliament about the need for legislation in Singapore to evolve in tandem with changing societal views.

On his parliamentary statement, Shanmugam said that it was carefully considered and delivered on behalf of the government. All individual ministers are bound by the Cabinet's decisions on government policy and they should refrain from expressing their own personal views on the matter, he added at the event organised by Focus on the Family Singapore, a conservative Christian organisation.

One of the questions posed at the event showed that the concern of many was not Section 377A per se, but its consequences if the law were repealed, Shanmugam said. This is something the government is aware of and must deal with, he added.

There are two valid and important viewpoints that the government will consider in dealing with this matter, Shanmugam stressed.

One viewpoint is that the vast majority of Singaporeans believe that a heterosexual marriage between a man and a woman remains the fundamental building block of society, Shanmugam said. The other is that many Singaporeans – including those holding the first viewpoint – believe that private consensual sex between men should not be criminalised and want to see Section 377A repealed, he added.

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