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The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) supports LGBT equality in Singapore and is against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression[1],[2]. It also supports the repeal of Section 377A, making its stand clear on its website since 2007[3].

However, one of its Malay-Muslim candidates running in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC during the 2015 General Elections, Damanhuri Abas thinks that Section 377A should not be repealed.

Current SDP politicians

For LGBT equality

Chee Soon Juan

Main article: Chee Soon Juan's views on homosexuality

Dr Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party, has accepted Singapore's pioneering LGBT advocacy group People Like Us' (PLU) invitation to several IndigNation events where he has spoken up for LGBT equality. He has also attended Pink Dot SG with his wife and children.

2006

During the IndigNation 2006 event entitled, 'The 2006 General Election and the Gay Issue' held at Theatreworks' 72-13 along Mohamed Sultan Road on 1 August 2006 at 7:30pm, Chee made the following speech in support of LGBT equality.


In response to a joint letter signed by 7 members of the LGBT community several months before the 2011 General Elections querying Singapore's political parties' views on various issues of concern to the community (see main article: Singapore political parties’ positions on LGBT concerns – General election 2011), Chee sent an e-mail reply on 2 November 2010:

"Rather than respond to the questionnaire, the Singapore Democratic Party would like to reiterate its stand:

We support the repeal of Section 377A. We made our stand clear in 2007 here [4] and defended it here [5]. We have embedded in our website the following statement: “As a nation, we must not only show tolerance but also acceptance of our fellow citizens regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or political persuasion.” (see here [6]).

Thank you.

Chee Soon Juan

Secretary-General

Singapore Democratic Party"

2011

Chee also made a speech in support of fellow SDP candidate, Vincent Wijeysingha, during the 2011 General Elections, saying that his party does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (see main article: Vivian Balakrishnan attacks Vincent Wijeysingha for having alleged gay agenda during 2011 General Elections).


That year, Chee and his family attended Pink Dot 2011 at Hong Lim Park. (Photo source: [7])

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2020

On Wednesday, 8 July 2020, one day before Cooling-off Day during the 2020 General Elections, social media celebrity Preetipls interviewed Chee regarding his life and views. His response to her question about when Singapore would be ready to repeal Section 377A was that the issue was a divisive one and that the people would have to decide.

Chee_Soon_Juan_-_377A_divisive,_the_people_will_have_to_decide

Chee Soon Juan - 377A divisive, the people will have to decide


Transcript:

Preeti: So, I have many fans from the LGBTQ+ community and I'm really sure they will want me to ask you, "When do you think Singapore will finally be able to repeal 377A?".

Chee: You know, I think this is something that the people will have to answer. Right now, I'll be very honest with you, it's still a very divisive situation. The time when the society is ready is, I think, for Singaporeans to answer at some point, you know, people will have to decide.

Paul Tambyah

Main article: Paul Tambyah's views on homosexuality

Prof Paul Anantharajah Tambyah is a physician specialising in infectious diseases. He is the chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party. He was also a founding member of MARUAH and a member of Action for AIDS' exco.

On 18 August 2015, sociopolitical news website 'Inconvenient Questions' interviewed Prof Paul Anantharajah Tambyah, an infectious disease physician, chairman and first-time candidate under the SDP for the 2011 General Elections, regarding his views on Section 377A amongst other issues. Prof Tambyah was firmly in support of repealing 377A.


Transcript:

"In terms of 377A, the SDP has been very clear about this - that 377A should be repealed. And again, this is in line with the idea that there should be equality for all Singaporeans. We also don't believe that it makes sense to keep a law on the books if you have decided you are not going to enforce the law. So there has to be consistency in order for rule of law to be practised in Singapore."

Against LGBT equality

Damanhuri Abas

Main article: Damanhuri Abas' views on homosexuality
DamanhuriBinAbas001.jpg


One of the SDP's Malay-Muslim candidates running in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC during the 2015 General Elections, Damanhuri Abas, thinks that Section 377A should not be repealed. He even had a hand in drafting the Fellowship of Muslim Students Association (FMSA) statement supporting NUS professor Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied when he dehumanised lesbians by describing them as ‘diseases’ and ‘cancers’ of society[8],[9].

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He contradicts himself by saying that he believes in a society where everyone is treated as equals and is against the discrimination of Hijabi Muslimahs and Malay-Muslims in the military while, at the same time, supporting the criminalisation of gay Singaporeans.

Neutral towards LGBT equality

Benjamin Pwee

Main article: Benjamin Pwee's views on homosexuality

Benjamin Pwee is a Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) parliamentary candidate for the 2020 General Elections. He heads media management under the Central Executive Committee of the SDP. He left the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in February 2019.

On Tuesday, 18 August 2015, Inconvenient Questions interviewed Pwee when he was still a member of the Democratic Progressive Party regarding his stand on Section 377A, amongst other issues after the NUSS political forum on the 2015 General Elections.

Pwee, who has been a committed Protestant Christian since his youth, did not take a firm stand on whether 377A should be repealed or not, saying that it was instead a question of legislative fairness and regulation of private behaviour.


Transcript:

"377A is again a very complex issue. How we see it on our side is that there is a distinction between what is and should be regulated within the sphere of the private, within the sphere of a community, within the sphere of a family and what is to be regulated under a criminal Penal Code at the national level.

And issues that are dealt with at a criminal Penal Code level need to be something that is fair and applicable across everybody.

So the question around 377A I think is not about whether you repeal it or you don't repeal it. The question of 377A is "Does it need to be rewritten? Does it need to be revised where it applies?" If it's going to apply and stand, it should apply to men AND women. If it's not going to apply at all, it should not apply to men or women.

The issues are around how do we see legislative restrictions and limitations on private choices. But at the same time to also say that if a community is not ready for it, can that community also regulate itself and deal with this issue, where the state steps out of what could be a very private decision amongst two people.

So that's our position on 377A."

Former SDP politicians

Vincent Wijeysingha

See also: Vivian Balakrishnan attacks Vincent Wijeysingha for having alleged gay agenda during 2011 General Elections

Vincent Wijeysingha was Singapore's first openly gay politician. He was a member of the SDP from 2010 to 2013. He served as the party's Treasurer and stood as a parliamentary candidate in the 2011 General Elections.


See also

References

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