The Presbyterian Church in Singapore (The “PCS”)
A Denominational Statement on Section 377A: Current Issues and Future Hope
In 2017, the PCS affirmed that marriage between a man and a woman is God’s original, good and enduring design for the propagation of family and society (at the PCS Synod AGM and in our Constitution). Consequently, we reject same-sex unions as they undermine the life-giving marriages and wholesome families which are the bedrock of a stable society.
The PCS agrees with and is united in the stance of the National Council of Churches of Singapore 1 , the Diocese of Singapore 2 , the Roman Catholic Church of Singapore 3 and PERGAS 4 to support our Government’s and our Courts’ carefully calibrated position expressed in these significant legal, executive and social touchstones.
1. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 377A in October 2014.
2. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in the Parliamentary Debate in October 2007 on Section 377A, explained why the Government would retain Section 377A in the Penal Code but not enforce it.
3. The scope of the Government’s present Penal Code Review of 2018 did not include Section 377A. The majority of Singaporeans regard Section 377A as a moral marker foundational to fostering stable families and a strong nation.
We empathise with those struggling with same-sex attraction (“SSA”) and their reasons to repeal Section 377A. We regard everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, with equal respect and worthy of God’s love and mercy.
We, however, affirm that S377A should not be repealed as a moral marker of Singapore society under the present circumstances, unless and until the following rights and/or guarantees are included in the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore:
a. that the religious freedom and/or rights of the many who favour God’s original and good design for family are protected and safeguarded;
b. there will be no legalisation of same-sex unions, adoption by same-sex couples, surrogacy by same-sex couples; and
c. the laws will not penalise and discriminate against those who do not support the homosexual lifestyle.5
If Section 377A is to be repealed, there must be a commensurate review and a strengthening of our Constitutional guarantees and rights to practice religion. Liberalism or secularism of modern democracies should not be allowed to curtail or revoke our cherished religious freedoms in Singapore.
Singapore is a secular state but the majority of its citizens (81%) are religious practitioners.6 We reject the false dichotomy that simplistically separates state from religion and conveniently silences the majority voice of religious adherents. We believe this freedom from religion in our common space holds dire and irreversible consequences for our marriages, families and children in our pursuit of racial-religious harmony in Singapore for our enduring peace and prosperity.
We seek to live together in our multi-religious society and hope for unique expression of democracy in Singapore that will guarantee the peace and prosperity of our nation into the 21st century regardless of race, language or religion.
The Presbyterian Church in Singapore
26 September 2018
1 National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS) Statement, 13 September 2018.
2 Diocese of Singapore Statement, 12 September 2018.
3 Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore Statement, 18 September 2018.
4 The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (“Pergas”) Statement, 19 September 2018.
5 For example: The inclusiveness pressures in places of employment or academia compelling employees or influencing students respectively to support same sex relationships and unions.
6 81.5% of the Residents of Singapore are religious <https://www.singstat.gov.sg/-/media/files/visualising_data/infographics/ghs/highlights-of-ghs2015.pdf>.
Moderator: Rt Rev Teo Yew Tiong
Stated Clerk: Rev Dr Steven Gan
Treasurer: Eld Oh Poh Huat