Singapore (Agenzia Fides) - "The Church regards everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, with equal respect: all the faithful are important to me, regardless whether they have same- or opposite-sex attraction. I feel the struggles and pains of those with same-sex attraction who sincerely love God and desire to live up to His divine plan for humanity. I feel with them when they are ostracised or marginalised by society. They too deserve to be loved and treated with dignity and respect". This was written by the Archbishop of Singapore, William Goh, in a Pastoral Letter, sent to Agenzia Fides, who addresses the issue of homosexual relations and the current legislation, while a debate is under way on the possible repeal of Article 377 paragraph a) of the Penal Code, which provides for penal sanctions for homosexual relationship between adults.
The Archbishop clarifies that by "accepting homosexual acts as a social norm, the dreadful consequences for the stability of our families, the well-being of our children, and the risks to the common good will be long-term and irreversible ". He pointed out that he would not object to a repeal of Section 377A "if it were merely aimed at removing all potential criminal penalties against homosexuals". However, until and unless Parliament puts in place a formulation that more perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the law, it must also "guarantee the protection of the rights of the majority who favour the traditional family", and affirm with certainty that the decriminalization must not involve "further requests to legalise same-sex unions, same-sex adoption of babies or surrogacy". For this reason "Article 377 paragraph a) should not be repealed under the present circumstances", writes the Archbishop. Considering the social and moral implications, Archbishop Goh urges Catholics in the country to "make a conscientious decision", rejecting for the the repeal of the article, "looking at the dire consequences for countries which normalised same-sex unions".
The debate on the decriminalization of homosexual relationships in Singapore started after the Supreme Court in India ruled that t homosexual relationship between consenting adults is not a crime. In Singapore, an attempt to repeal article 377 paragraph a) of the Criminal Code had already been raised in 2014 but failed.
Even the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS), a body that brings together Protestant Christian denominations, in a statement claims it does not support the repeal of the law, saying that "homosexual lifestyle is harmful to families and society". (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 19/9/2018)