Singapore Will Benefit When All Citizens Are Treated Equally

I refer to the report, “Conservative S’pore ‘not ready for same-sex marriage’” (June 6).

Law-making premised simply on the majoritarian position is dangerous. Democracy is not simply about majority rule; it is also about protecting minority rights. This is why we have the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.

This principle, however, should apply to all minorities, including sexual minorities. In fact, to be truly impartial, the State should just protect individual rights. Minority rights are individual rights, as the individual is the smallest minority.

Legalising same-sex marriage means respecting individual liberties. It does not mean promoting same-sex marriage. Singapore society may frown upon adultery, gambling or prostitution, but these are all legal.

Scientific studies have shown that being inclusive improves public health. The New England Journal of Medicine even published a recent editorial supporting same-sex marriage. Is our Health Ministry not ready to improve public health?

Also, research by economics professor M. V. Lee Badgett shows that anti-gay laws have an economic cost. Is our Trade and Industry Ministry not ready to grow our economy more?

Singapore society may indeed be conservative and not ready for same-sex marriage. But is that justification for the state itself to dash any citizen’s dream?

Many Singaporeans readily paid tribute to founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew after his death. As we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, let us honour his legacy of being a pragmatist and empiricist.

The evidence is clear: Singapore stands to benefit when all its citizens are treated equally.


This article, written by Bryan Kwa Jie Wen, first appeared on Voices, Today, on 10 Jun 2015.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *