Singapore “intolerant of gay groups”

8 April 2004

Singapore said Wednesday that it would ban gay support organisations because its conservative population doesn’t believe such groups deserve legitimacy.

“As the mainstream moral values of Singaporeans are conservative, it is hence contrary to public interest to grant legitimacy to the promotion of homosexual activities and viewpoints,” the Home Affairs Ministry said in a written response to questions.

The statement follows a government decision on Tuesday to deny freedom of association to People Like Us, a support and advocacy group for gay people, because it believed the group was “likely to be used for unlawful purposes or for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare or good order in Singapore,” the ministry said.

The government said in its formal rejection notice that the group must halt all activities, warning that members of unregistered societies face heavy punishments under the law, People Like Us co-founder Alex Au said.

The group had previously tried to register as a society in 1997 and was also refused, Au said.

He said the group will follow the government’s instructions and not hold further meetings, but as individuals, members will continue to argue for equal rights.

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