Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has told a ministerial forum with the students union of Nanyang Technological University that it is not up to his government to lead the Singaporean people into accepting LGBTI rights and that the people’s deeply held values must be respected.
Singapore’s Today newspaper live tweeted the Prime Minister’s speech, tweeting ‘On LGBT issues, PM Lee says not Gov's role to decide if society's deeply held social, moral values are right or wrong.’
Lee has been resistant to repealing his country’s colonial era anti-sodomy laws, even though his father, Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew has said he would like to see reform on the issue.
Lee’s comments come as new polling shows that Singaporeans still hold very conservative views about same-sex relations.
An Institute of Policy Studies survey found that 78.2% of Singaporeans believed that same-sex relationships were always or almost always wrong – compared to 56.4% who disapproved of heterosexual relationships before marriage.
However a surprise result in the study was that less Singaporeans opposed same-sex marriage than those who disapproved of same-sex relationships – suggesting that some Singaporeans who believe same-sex relationships are wrong think that it would be less bad if same-sex couples were married.
7.29% of respondees said that they thought same-sex marriage was always wrong – a drop of just over 5% compared to those who said same-sex relationships were always wrong.
Singaporeans were less opposed to the idea of same-sex couples adopting with only 61.1% saying it was always or almost always wrong to allow.