Brazil legalises same-sex civil unions

While we in Singapore were preoccupied with the general elections, half the world away in Brasilia on 5 May 2011, a momentous decision was announced. The Federal Constitutional Tribunal of Brazil unanimously ruled that people in “stable, enduring and public” same-sex relationships must be granted the same rights as people in opposite-sex unions. It does not exactly address the question of gay marriage, because the case brought to the court pivoted on the question of whether “registered partnerships” between same-sex couples must mandatorily be recognised as a family entity. The court said it must, effectively extending to gay couples the same legal rights as straight couples.

Individuals in same-sex unions can now benefit from their partner’s pension, retirement and health plans, and enjoy all the benefits afforded under family law, such as adoption.

As reported in the Guardian,

Prior to the ruling some, but not all, public notaries would register a document stating that the couple lived together. Such documents did not, however, have guaranteed legal value, were subject to interpretation and could be disregarded.

[snip]

All notaries are now obliged to register, when requested, same-sex partnerships as a legally recognised “family entity”, just as they do with heterosexual couples. This opens the way for a series of rights previously denied to same-sex couples in Brazil, such as joint adoption of children, inheritance, the consideration of both partners’ income when applying for loans or mortgages or the right for one partner to take decisions regarding the other’s medical treatment in cases of incapacity. The ruling also brings obligations that did not previously exist for same-sex couples in the event of separation.

Explaining their decision, two judges made these noteworthy comments:

“Here, the state is one of absolute equality, since one cannot allege that hetero-affective couples lose if homo-affective couples gain. Who gains from the equality that homo-affective individuals are seeking? Homo-effective individuals! And who loses? Nobody. Hetero-affective couples do not lose, and society does not lose.” – Justice Ayres Brito

“A decent society is one that does not humiliate its members.” – Justice Hellen Gracie

Interestingly, the case was not launched by any aggrieved gay individual, but by the State of Rio de Janeiro. The State had recognised civil servants’ same-sex partners as dependants, but this move was challenged by local entities. The State then sought a definitive ruling by the constitutional court. A boost to the State’s  case came after the federal government’s attorney-general joined the battle by filing a claim that failure to recognise same-sex partnerships would be unconstitutional.

The problem faced by the court was that heteronormative language could be found in two key documents:  Article 226 of the constitution and article 1723 of the civil code which discuss marriage rights as available to “a man and a woman”. Referring to this, opponents of gay rights in Brazil contended that granting quasi-marriage rights to same-sex couples would be unconstitutional.

Not so, the court said: Heteronormative phrasing notwithstanding, nothing suggests that those same rights can be denied to others. Moreover, a democratic constitution based on non-discrimination would be useless if it were unable to ensure that the rights granted to some groups also applied to everyone else.

* * * * *

By this decision, the constitutional court was exercising leadership where legislators would not. A bill proposing legal recognition of same-sex partnerships has been languishing since 1995.

Brazil now (nearly) joins its neighbour Argentina where full gay marriage — not just civil unions — was enacted into law by its parliament last year.

This is not to say that homophobia has disappeared. Far from it. At a social level, it is much harder to eradicate than making a court ruling. The country also has a sorry record in terms of murder rates on account of sexual orientation and gender identity, though the overall murder rate (for all reasons) is also very high.

Nonetheless, Brazil boasts the largest annual gay parade anywhere in the world. Some three million people — yes, that would be close to the entire citizen population of Singapore — participate in Sao Paulo for its annual Pride.

Most Brazilians profess the Roman Catholic faith. I can’t find any statement from the Brazilian Roman Catholic Church on this latest ruling, not that it really matters anymore. Argentina too is deeply Roman Catholic, as is Spain and Portugal where gay marriage is legal as well — and by acts of parliament to boot, not just the courts.

What I managed to find was a statement by the Episcopal Church in Brazil. It said:

A unanimous decision by Brazil’s Supreme Court May 5 to legally recognize the union of same-sex couples has been hailed by the primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil as “an important advance in our society … in the concept of equality and citizenship.”

Archbishop Maurício Andrade said in a statement that the Supreme Court’s decision “poses serious challenges to all Christians of all churches because it requires openness to recognize that [homosexual] relationships are part of the way of being of the society and of the human nature.”

Source.

* * * * *

Coming back to Singapore (and our recently-concluded elections), I received an email wherein a voter in Bishan-Toa Payoh described his decision process. In this group representation constituency, the People’s Action Party (PAP) was challenged by the Singapore People’s  Party (SPP):

The PAP as a party does not have a policy regarding homosexuals, but neither does the SPP.  So it is meaningless to choose along party lines.

The SPP was led by Chiam See Tong.  Although a veteran Member of Parliament, Mr Chiam has not once stood up in Parliament to oppose Section 377A of the Penal Code.  I have no doubt he is well-liked by his Potong Pasir constituents, but popularity is irrelevant to me.  Mr Chiam may also promise to speak up on behalf of the oppressed, but I do not think he will ever be my voice.

The PAP team contained Hri Kumar Nair.  Like Chiam, Hri is an MP.  Unlike Chiam, Hri has spoken up on my behalf, and on behalf of gays all over Singapore.

Which candidate is more likely to speak up for me?  Mr Chiam isn’t.  But Mr Hri Kumar Nair is, and he has done [so] before.

So the ultimate choice was very simple.  I wanted to retain one of the rare anti-discriminatory voices in Parliament.  So I voted PAP.  There was no other logical choice.  If the right opposition party comes along to Bishan-Toa Payoh, offering to speak on my behalf, I might consider them too.

I reproduce my synopsis of the points raised by Hri Kumar during the debate on Section 377A of the Penal Code in 2007, first mentioned in the article When you should vote PAP.

Hri Kumar argued that “laws must meet the three Cs, i.e. be clear, consistent and concrete, meaning that they must be substantive, effective and make sense.” Section 377A, he pointed out, falls short of these tests. When the government keeps a law yet say they will not enforce it, it becomes counterproductive, inviting attacks on the integrity of the law.

He also pointed out that claiming homosexuality to be immoral is no argument, since:

society has done away with criminalising a whole host of other conduct, which is far more damaging to family values, such as adultery, which carries a more direct threat to the integrity of the family. And adultery was one of the original Ten Commandments.

and, referring to the government’s refusal to criminalise a husband raping his wife:

I cannot imagine any Member of the House believing that it is acceptable for a man to force himself on a woman under any circumstances, regardless of whether they are married. But we do not completely outlaw marital rape.

He also spoke out against those who used religious arguments: “we must remind ourselves that we are a secular state. . . . and . . . decisions will always be made on secular grounds.”

Moreover “it is stretching logic to suggest that the repeal will lead to a sudden proliferation of homosexual activity.” And as for fears about HIV,

making something illegal only forces it underground. That will restrict the ability of the Government to respond to the HIV threat through promotion and education, when Government agencies feel that they cannot engage with the gay community in any way except a condemnatory one.

Concluding, he posed this question: “assume we are here debating whether to include section 377A into our Penal Code, would we do it?”

30 Responses to “Brazil legalises same-sex civil unions”


  1. 1 wikigam 18 May 2011 at 14:27

    It is true that Angel Mr Baey had safe the Devil mbt @ tampines GRC. We need Mr Baey in support our voice in the parliament.

  2. 2 WeiHan 18 May 2011 at 14:58

    Yes…We have a sissy and undecisive leader in our government. When both MM Lee and SM Lee are ok with gays and want to do away with 377A, he needs 20-30 years to consider the effects of repealing 377A. Forgetting that all the whiles, it will be doing injustice to a minority group and inviting attacks on the integrity of the law.

  3. 3 Pikachu 18 May 2011 at 17:42

    Hi Alex,

    Beyond civil unions… I was motivated enough to read a federal judge ruling on proposition 8, on same sex marriage in California, although the basis was that it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex amrriage (anyone has the right of marriage), in his ruling he covered the points raise by those who oppose, and the counter arguments, it was not too different in context to this ruling.

    http://documents.nytimes.com/us-district-court-decision-perry-v-schwarzenegger?ref=us

    But the background to this, as you might know, a majority voted yes against same-sex marriage.

  4. 4 Fredrick Goh 18 May 2011 at 18:33

    First of all, I would like to stress I am a person who is against any form of policy that tries to promote, legalise “gayism”, homosexual or same sex marriage. However, that has not translated into what I termed as aggression towards pple who have alternate views on homosexual relation nor ostracize such individual. Whatever I feel has been held in private and to some disbelieve, I have no problem with pple who practise homosexual and have mingled with them.

    I am not sure whether pple here is aware Sec 377A applies to heterosexual pple as well, ie when the case is reported especially in the case of unconsent sexual act.. It does not single out homosexual couples exclusively.

    In Singapore, I do not find the need to pass or amend drastically any law just to suit homosexual. As long as the “private activities” remain private. This applies to all. The situation we have in Singapore, to me, are caused by social perception toward homosexual. No law nor actions has been taken explicitly again pple just because they are homosexual. Singapore is not Uganda, u dun get death threat nor death sentence for being gay.

    Singaporeans or I think, the government included, will not tolerate any violent act against any individuals. Therefore I question the need to amend or change any law just to suit the needs or change the perception of Singaporeans towards gay.

    So far, I have not seen police arrest “lady boy” prostitute and let the lady prostitute go unhindered. If they see pple plying in sexual trade, they simply arrest them irregardless of sexual orientation.

    “Gayism” is not a cancer, disease or a form of disabilities that need special attention so that they can be accepted. That is why I find it strange and bewildered when pple mark a country democratic progress by linking with pro homosexual policies or law such as allowing same sex marriage as a form of progress.

    Seriously, I thought the progress of a country is marked by its properity, the abilities to take care of the less abled or needy, provide equal opportunities to all.

    Homosexual can stay together for all I care. They can have “divorses” like any couple and if there is any violent behaviour exhibits by one of the partners, the other is free to take up protection order. The court will not reject ur application base on your sexual orientation.

    Anyway, this is the first time I spoke out in writing like this. I feel it is a sensitive issue. I dun wish to blow it up. So present ur point as it is and I hope it wun become ugly ^^.

    Cheers.

    • 5 Pikachu 18 May 2011 at 23:47

      Huh? What is “gayism”, it not in dictionary, your own definition? Sorry, you sound so weaselly.

      The federal judge ruling should be a required read.

      sample these question:

      What is the purpose of marriage? To procreate? What about infertile couples?

      What is the advantage of a marriage? To provide a stable family unit? What evidence has shown same-sex couple do not provide the same environmental benefits

      Would same-sex marriage be detriment to society? Why would 2 loving people be a bane on society?

      I am aghast…

    • 6 Magi 19 May 2011 at 00:08

      Dear Fredrick:

      With due respect, may I highlight that you seem to be relying on extremities in your arguments. I believe some call this strawman arguments.

      Interpersonal violence, and homosexual marriage, are the polarities of the spectrum. They stand at quite a sizable distance from the position Singapore is currently in. Not to say that we shouldn’t practice foresight, but to extrapolate an argument to those extents serves little except to muddle reality, and incite irrationality.

      The issue of 377a repealing has always been a matter of stigma. To this, I implore that you draw the distinction between freedom to, versus freedom from. Repealing 377a is a request of freedom from. Freedom from discrimination. Freedom from stigma. Freedom from besmirchment. It is not exactly to the realms of homosexuals getting assaulted on the streets. But matters like work discrimination. Policy discrimination. Social discrimination. And to cite a realistic example, how Pastor Derek Hong previously used 377a to justify his congregation’s underhand takeover of AWARE. (You can search the news archive about this).

      Indeed, you can say that repealing 377a will lead to a “freedom to” request for gay marriage. To that, I would just ask, is our armed forces for the purpose of freeing us from aggression, or the purpose of providing freedom to aggravate? How come we can readily draw the distinction there?

      Might I also mention that you started off with a shaky assumption. That there is such a thing as “gayism.” I hardly ever see this word, except from anti-gay lobbyists, so I am unsure of what it is exactly. If you are referring to homosexuality being a chosen lifestyle that can be “adopted,” may I just remind that for all the time and money spent on the topic, the anti-gay lobby, particularly the Church, has consistently failed both to prove or disprove homosexuality as a chosen lifestyle.

      • 7 Fredrick Goh 19 May 2011 at 21:35

        hi Magi, I think u got me wrong. What I am trying to say that in Singapore, a homosexual couple can seek help like any other individual. There is no law that show partility towards homosexuals and reject their application for help. So far I do not feel nor see any law in Singapore that explicitly passed against gay pple. It is just a further interpretation of the law that is needed, thus there is no basis for pple to say sec 377A is targetted at gays or lesbian. That section applies to me should I have carnal intercourse with a lady.

        About the AWARE incident, I see it as a group of individuals trying to voice their concerns. Though high handed they maybe, at the very least, during its initial course the actions r conducted by proper means. The so call old guards r not exactly blameless as well. It was later established by Education Ministry that certain material provided by AWARE during their talks n seminar to school children need to be looked into. If only MOE vet it more carefully n AWARE is more forthcoming as in making everyone know what they r actually sharing. Because for me, as a parent, I will exercise my right not to send my children to their talks if I know what kind of teaching my children r exposed to. Clearly AWARE may have over interpreted their original mission. Just British and French going too far with their interpretation of saving the pple of Libeya according to UN resolution no 1973 (if I remember correctly) and regime changed.

        Like I say, I do not think Singapore need to change any statue or law as the issue against gay n lesbian is largely a social perception. The law cannot force me to accept gay n lesbian as normal, only community building can. Like I say, I can co exist with self confess gays and lesbian. Whatever I feel is private u dun need to know my true feelings.

        If there is anything lacking, then we lack the law that specifically handle inheritance issue and wills for gays and lesbian couples. As long as the law does not legalised gay marriage it is fine by me.

      • 8 yawningbread 20 May 2011 at 01:01

        You wrote: “no basis for pple to say sec 377A is targetted at gays or lesbian. That section applies to me should I have carnal intercourse with a lady. ”

        Get your facts right…. I have little patience with any discussion that proceeds from erroneous statements of facts. I do not intend to give space to any argumentation based on falsehoods — that’s the comment quality standard I insist for Yawning Bread. In other words, if I stop further arguments from you, you now know why. (I’m being more than generous, because you had made a similar mistatement of fact earlier)

        Even as for the above comment, once a false statement of fact is made, I don’t give any credence to any sentence that follows.

      • 9 Fredrick Goh 20 May 2011 at 06:09

        Then I am sorry if u think like this yawningbread. I was a small fry police in the past. I have my fair share arrest streets prostitute etc. I can say proudly as a Singaporean that I was in no pressure by anyone to show partiality towards gay community just because of tgeir sexual orientation.

        I must admit in my young days, I have hurl insults to another person with other preference. And of course some of peers has done so too. There have been superior shunning gays n lesbian. However, I see these attitude caused by pple misleading perception n not because of any law.

        If there r any sections in the criminal law or misc act that explicitly says persecute gays, then I say down with it.

        Pls forgive me if I sound offensive n display any ignorance. Like I say, I just merely mention my thoughts n political preferance in the light of discussion n views. I contributed cause I read ur election views n deeply impress by ur breakdown, impartiality. I did not expect ur fustration. I m only a taxi driver. Sry that this subject is out of my league.

        Again I apologise n I will stop commenting.

      • 10 Fredrick Goh 20 May 2011 at 12:10

        Hi Mr Au,
        I have just read the “About Me” section n realised this website is more of a pro gay forum than a political webby. I wish to apologise if my post has discounted ur personal experiences from 1959, as I have the impression u r of my age group (37 yrs).

        I developed an interest in local politics due to the recent election n I came to know this webby through MrBrown website. When I visit this web site, all I see on the top few post were ur politically analysis which I enjoy very much. When the new post abt gay marriage in Brazil, I express my views without giving thoughts to the viewers. It may have been blazen in the way I wrote n may have ruffled some.

        However, I wish to stress again on what I have said. By the time I joined the force in late 1993, views n the way to handle public has changed much from my parents time. Base on my first hand experiences, I can tell u that the state has not shown biasness against gay community.

        I hope in the light of all these, pls pardon me for my tone.

    • 11 WeiHan 19 May 2011 at 00:54

      Why can’t you allow people change their view towards gay people? People are borned that way-they are only sexually attracted to people of the same sex and forming family unit of the same sex is only natural. So my question to you is that why can’t you allow others to change their view towards such relationships? Other than you uneasy about it, are there any concrete ways that these kind of relationships harm you?

      • 12 Fredrick Goh 19 May 2011 at 21:53

        Hi Weihan,
        I do not believe I am trying to stop anyone from persuade others to change their perception. Infact, if pple can change their behaviours such as bullying or name calling that is for the good of everyone. To me that is real progress brought by the community. U dun need laws to force pple like me to.accept gays or lesbian. I have already accept them as a fellow human being.

        The only differences in thoughts about gay n lesbian sexual orientation between me n u is that I do not think it is normal. Pls no offense intended, I said this for discussion purposes only. In real life I treat even gays n lesbian like everyone else.

        The progress of democracy inSingapore should not be measured by whether we have laws to protect gay n lesbian or to recognise them. Unless like in the case of Uganda, law need to step in to protect a human being who happen to adopt alternate life styles.

      • 13 Poker Player 23 May 2011 at 12:57

        “When the new post abt gay marriage in Brazil, I express my views without giving thoughts to the viewers. It may have been blazen in the way I wrote n may have ruffled some.”

        The sort of people whose comments are allowed on this site don’t mind brazen comments. They mind arguments based on wrong information and they mind non-sequiturs. We are OK with your brazenness. We have a problem with what you consider facts and how you justify your claims.

    • 14 Wakka 19 May 2011 at 01:30

      Dear Fredrick Goh,

      So basically you’re alright with people getting discriminated under the law?
      Getting deprived of the rights and recognition by the state?

      Although it is not life threatening, it will affect gay men in ways you don’t know, such as cultivating homophobia which is rather harmful for gay men’s psychological health – by being against the repeal, you’re indirecting causing harm to gay men’s psychological wellbeing.

      i hope you have more compassion towards other minorities; anyway heterosexuals have nothing to lose even if 377a is repealed….

      • 15 WeiHan 20 May 2011 at 10:02

        Hi Frederick,

        But 377a isn’t a law to protect gays. In fact it is a blantant discriminative law. It isn’t a law to force you into believing that gays are normal. Even without 377a and the right to gay marriage, you still have your right whether to think of anyone as normal or not or to associate with them. But from the law point of view, it should, in pinciple not be discriminative and should be fair.

        whatever it is, are there any gays rights in the world fighting to force people like you into believeing they are normal? Should abnormal means they have to be labeled criminals and thus justify a law like 377a?! Should abnormal means they don’t have the right to love each other and enter into a civil union contract? is it any of the homophobes business in principle?

  5. 16 wikigam 19 May 2011 at 01:16

    To : Fredrick Goh

    1) quote ” … held in privite …”.
    Don’t try to insult others human’s IQ !
    Don’t be so low class ! don’t imagine that gay are just doing same-sex action in private. Do you know what is LOVE ???

    2)Remove of Section 377A is a start point of toward Equality nation.

    3)Christianity political agenda
    quote ” ….Singapore is not Uganda…”
    I don’t believe what people said that chtistian are obey to govt . re-open china history….
    a) Taiping Rebellion (太平天国)
    Christianity vs Confucianism Qing Dynasty.
    b) Eight-Nation Alliance (八国联军)
    Chtistianity vs Chinese folk religion Qing Dynasty
    (remark : the only two regilion war in china’s history)
    Removal of section 377A to reduce the power of Christianity political agenda and freedom the human from SIN.

    4)Sickening to consult with anti-gay ppl.
    Pls take note that singapore govt ( CPF… etc) are fail to take care of un-married citizen. the single singaporean should allow to adopt child to take care them when in their old age.

    5) You should view thing in mutli-dimension and perspective. Don’t think so narrow that in your contex of sex ..and sex … and only sex.

    • 17 Fredrick Goh 19 May 2011 at 22:03

      I will answer only to point 4 as I reaaly dun wan the discussion to deviate.

      – if u r single, it does not matter whether u r homosexual or heterosexual (sp err I think), u dun adopt a child or children so that they can take care of u when u r old. Seriously I think it is wrong. I tot u adopt them so that they will be loved……..

  6. 18 Gard 19 May 2011 at 09:54

    First of all, I would like to stress I am a person who is against any form of policy that tries to promote, legalise “heterosexism”. However, that has not translated into what I termed as aggression towards pple who have bigoted views on heterosexual relationships nor have I ostracized such individuals. Whatever I feel has been held in private and to some disbelievers, I have no problem with pple who practise heterosexism and have mingled with them.

    I am not sure whether pple here are aware that Sec 377A applies to homosexual pple as well, ie when the case is reported, even in the case of consensual sexual acts. It does not single out non-consensual heterosexual male-bonding exclusively.

    In Singapore, I do not find the need to retain any law just to suit heterosexism. This applies to all laws, private or public. The situation we have in Singapore, to me, is caused by social perception favouring heterosexism. No law nor action has been taken explicitly against pple just because they are heterosexist. Singapore is not Sweden, u don’t get fired for ad hominem attack on another politican’s sexual orientation.

    Singaporeans or I think, the government included, will not tolerate any violent or discriminatory act against any individuals. Therefore I see the need to amend any law that muddles the perception of Singaporeans towards heterosexism.

    “Heterosexism” is a cancer, disease or a form of disabilities that need special attention so that it can be detected. That is why I find it not so strange when pple mark a country’s undemocratic practices by linking with heterosexist policies or laws such as discriminating against homosexual couple right to legal protection as a form of regress.

    Seriously, I used to think that the progress of a country is marked by its parturiency, the abilities to take care of the less abled or needy heterosexuals, provide equal opportunities to all heterosexuals. Then I saw what a heterosexist I was.

    (PS: Heterosexism is NOT heterosexuality.)

  7. 20 wikigam 19 May 2011 at 10:50

    To : Dear GRAD

    1) “EQUALITY” should given to all categary regardless of sexual orientation. The Logic is very simple. We Don’t need to find any reason to suport such in-logical law (377A).

    2) Did IRAS collect income tax from all employee who should pay income tax. so IRAS also collected income tax for gay, IS IT RIGHT ?

  8. 21 timebomber 19 May 2011 at 11:08

    I have to confess I was once a homophobe. Many years ago, I said to a friend when we were discussing homosexuality, that if I have a son and he turns out to be homosexual, I would probably hang myself.

    Now, my sympathies are with the gay crowd. My attitudes towards the gay community changed because of people like Alex Au. His articles on gays help me understand their plight. So please do not give up the fight for your rights. Gays should have the same rights as straight people. You should be allowed to love and marry someone of the same sex.

    But it will be a long and hard battle to change the mindsets of the religious and conservative groups. As a straight guy myself, I do my part trying to convince the people around me that being gay isn’t abnormal. But it’s hard. People are stuck with the way they were conditioned to think and the environment they were brought up in. They speak of a gay agenda and that the gays are pushing too hard. But come on, who’s doing the pushing in the first place? It’s we, the straight people who have pushed gays into a corner by denying them the right to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.

    When I think back of myself when I was a homophobe, I feel ashamed. But then again, in my growing up years, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a gay person. We know some men tend to be a bit effeminate but it never occurred to us that they are gays. I never knew that some men are sexually attracted to other men.

    In those days, we even had a Gay World Amusement Park. Let me assure you that park wasn’t meant for homosexuals. Gay in those days simply meant “merry”.

    Now we have the Internet where one can read up on how it’s like to be gay. And we have many gay icons in the entertainment industry. There is really no reason not to understand anymore. But I suppose many still choose to be ignorant. It’s sad.

  9. 22 timebomber 19 May 2011 at 11:26

    A friend who is against same-sex marriage said to me the other day that gay relationships don’t last. I don’t know if what he said is true but offhand, I would imagine a gay marriage has a better chance of enduring when compared to a marriage betwen 2 persons of different sex.

    The way I see it, many marriages break up for the simple reason that one is a man and the other a woman. A man and a woman sees everything differently. So the more unlike they are, the more likely they are not going to get along. A gay marriage between 2 persons of the same sex does not have this problem so I would think it’s more likely to endure.

    But has there been any surveys conducted on this? I would be interested to know.

    • 23 Paul 19 May 2011 at 21:17

      Hi timebomber,

      I don’t think partners in a same-sex relationship have any better or worse a chance of staying together than partners in a heterosexual relationship – people regardless of gender or sexual orientation are subject to the same foibles after all, and any two people trying to maintain a stable relationship have to work through the same types of interpersonal issues (autonomy, trust, making compromises, etc. etc.).

      That said, one area in which same-sex couples may have it easier is the lack of cultural baggage regarding ‘proper’ gender roles – i.e. there is no automatic expectation that one partner will be the breadwinner and the other the homemaker, or that one should be subordinate to the other, and so on. There are no ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ roles to fill, so couples are free to set the terms of the relationship. (At the very least, this has been my own experience having been married to my same-sex spouse for a number of years already, and I find the equality we assume healthy.)

      Also, if a same-sex couple did go through the trouble of trying to register a marriage/civil union/domestic partnership, there is a good chance that they’re serious about it. This is precisely because there *isn’t* a prior cultural expectation that they should get hitched. In other words, gay couples generally don’t get married just because one partner accidentally got the other pregnant, or because their parents are pressuring them to tie the knot so the neighbors won’t gossip, or simply because it is expected that marriage will be a milestone in life they have to cross.

  10. 24 Magi 19 May 2011 at 17:30

    Concerning this “gay agenda” theory, I used to have this acquaintance from work who would go around insisting to everyone the existance of the agenda. He started after Thio Li Ann gave her nefarious speech in parliament.

    So one day, I went to ask him, did he actually know of any gay people?

    His reply was, no. And very proudly he told me no gay people would dare confess to him, because they know he would sternly chastise them and remind them how they are violating the law.

    I was very amused. But I only told him one thing. I said, I highly doubt he was as important as he imagined, so homosexuals wouldn’t have any real need or reason to out themselves to him.

    He UNfriended me after that.

  11. 25 drmchsr0 19 May 2011 at 17:38

    “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Good ol’ Voltaire knew this rather well.

    To paraphrase this:

    “I disagree with your way of life, but I will defend to the death your right to live it.”

    Because, let’s face it, homosexuals are homo sapiens too, and not some different species of human being. (Pun not intended)

    I am quite against 377A in terms of enforcement. It’s not that I do not care about the homosexual prejudice in Singapore (which is linked to my views on society in general and is thus for another time), but really now, do we want “decency” police in Singapore, like how they have them in Malaysia?

  12. 26 wikigam 20 May 2011 at 10:15

    To : Fredrick Goh

    1)It is a time wasting to discuss with people never being love , be loved , people don’t know how love and poeple who life shortage of love.

    2)Poorly and sadly that mostly the “Anti-Gay” people was who rejected love by the same sex lover ! They feel un-balancing to see same sex couple in love. Adolf Hitler is gay acoording to research team, so know everybody know why Adolf Hitler killed some many gay during World War I and II.

  13. 27 T 20 May 2011 at 17:26

    For the benefit of all;

    377A. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.
    Link: http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_retrieve.pl?actno=REVED-224

    Hi Mr Fredrick Goh,
    From 377A, if I change the first phrase from “Any male person” to “Any heterosexual person”, how would you feel as a discriminated heterosexual? I would like to understand how you find the above law, and by extension the state, non-discriminatory towards homosexuals. With further extension, isn’t the police supposed to enforce laws (such as this) too? And if they have not, why retain such laws?

    I respect your personal experience in the police force. But as you have acknowledged, the social perception that is negative to homosexuals exists. Although this is not due to the law in itself, repealing discriminatory laws such as 377A is a step in the right direction because the state has a responsibility to ensure what applies to one person is applied to everyone else. The law plays a part in social perception as a guardian of equal rights and a protector for all.

    “The progress of democracy inSingapore should not be measured by whether we have laws to protect gay n lesbian or to recognise them. Unless like in the case of Uganda, law need to step in to protect a human being who happen to adopt alternate life styles.”
    ~Fredrick Goh

    I think what is being asked is for Section 377A to be repealed. No one is asking for a law to specifically protect homosexuals. In fact, such “positive” discrimination can be demeaning. What, homosexuals need extra help? They are just ordinary people who can lead dignified lives given fair laws and chances.

    As for the Uganda case, it is not just simply the case of open discrimination against homosexuals. It is also through subtle and discreet ways which applies more for Singapore. There is a premium on “face-saving”, which can make for a misleading impression that all is stable and well in Singapore.

    • 28 Fredrick Goh 21 May 2011 at 21:53

      Pls pardon me, I tot 377A was a carnal intercourse section. When I mention it, it was base on my memories. I should have checked my CPC before I said it regarding the matter. The error.was.solely my bad mistake. Sry for the distress caused.

      As u know, Most of our laws are written base on Christian doctrine. I am a christian as all of u must have suspected. I am solely against any move that sanctioned gay behaviour as valid and normal. This is my stand. Being said that however, though God’s law dun change, time is fluid and things change. Behaviours and culture have evolved greatly since Apostle Paul time.

      During those time, things which are deem unholy or sinful r dealt harshly as fitting of the culture of the time. To concede, if the gay community feels this 377A is discrimitary and as a result felt hurt and unloved by the larger community, then as a christian I would say it should be done away with.

      Human law like Criminal Procedure Code can only spell out wad is legal n wad is not. They r not moral compasses, or to be more accurate they r unable to be one. God’s law is eternal. He did not only provided written law but the embodiment of His real ‘law’ n intention in His Son Jesus.

      I believe with all my heart that God’s love extend to all. I was a sinner save by grace. If I were to remain a sinner, the punishment for me will be the same even if I dun commit so call greater sin like homosexuality and murder. on top of that God is always merciful and in His own time, He deals with every individuals in His way.

      As such, 377A, it can go away. It’s purpose, to me, is already spent. It does not help an individual to be worst or better if it exist IN THIS CASE. If God can have mercy on me n prostitute, I know He will extend His love to all irregardless. Punishing sinners through 377A no longer works. Let man be man n God be God.

      It is misplaced that all Jesus beliver r against gay community. In this age, segregation only put pple like u guys away from God’s love. We r against the sin not the sinner. U can sit in the church with me, but pls ah dun over do it like the incident in one of the Europe country where the gay community appear en masse to protest against a priest rejecting a gay person over holy communium or something like that ^^ Otherwise pastor run away screaming n no one take over the service.

      The only thing I m concerned is that whether by removing this section, what will be in place to tackle offense such as priest sexually assault boys or girls. I m sure all agree that such action is deplorable.

      Pls accept my apology for my mistake.

  14. 29 yawningbread 20 May 2011 at 18:36

    Frederick Goh

    Re your 20 May 06:09, thank you for being honourable.

  15. 30 Magi 20 May 2011 at 18:53

    This is to Fredrick’s Goh various responses, including to my earlier one.

    377A specifically to target homosexuals: As a starting mark, let’s remember that 377A is a code. It’s a “law.” It’s, ultimately, a string of words. It’s not an actual human sitting there who can say to you, hey, don’t interpret me this way! The way the code is being used and interpreted and expounded, can be reflected no clearer than how the Church leaped upon it in 2007. They didn’t see it as a penal code directing sex between any sort of men, they viewed it specifically as a tool necessary to condemn homosexuality. It is this method of interpretation that we, at least here in this forum, are stricken by.

    Social Perception: Let’s not enter into one of those egg and chicken serial dramas. Social perception? Did it bring about 377a? Or did 377a continues to reinforce social perception? Why were the local Church leaders so determined to preserve 377a? Again, drawing from their own words, it was to “preserve” their preferred set of worldviews.

    AWARE: It’s polite, I’d say the least, to paint the Thio activists as concerned individuals. Fortunately, their actions showed otherwise. Lying to media? Lying to employers? Support for lying by online flaming? Termination of ongoing counseling sessions to women in need? How about also Thio Li Ann frantically trying to get the last say by labelling all who frowned upon her mother as “militant?” And the big question, did anyone actually turned lesbian from these….AWARE modules? Funny that the Thio activists devoted not an ounce of effort to reveal what is obviously the ultimate proof for their legitimacy.

    Normal Being: I’ve myself encountered far more of people who continue to claim they treat so and so as “like everyone else,” but they stand by their views for it is not normal etc etc. I think anyone can see the immediately ill-logic? You treat someone as like anyone else, yet that someone to you is not normal in your view, so are you saying everyone else is abnormal to you?

    Further ????: If you aren’t seeking to change someone’s opinion, coupled with the declaration that you treat all homosexuals as equal, plus you are determined to stand by your views that homosexuals are not normal, then why on earth are you posting these paragraphs online? Gay forum or not?

    PS: By the way, I think you have not actually read the code. That’s why you failed to see why Alex condemned your reply. Again, assumptions upon assumptions.


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