Last edited: May 15, 2004

Singapore Cancels Homosexual Forum

Associated Press, May 24, 2000

SINGAPORE (AP) – Authorities on Wednesday canceled a planned homosexual forum, saying it would legitimize practices considered unlawful in this conservative city-state.

In a statement, police said they "cannot allow the holding of this public forum, which will advance and legitimize the cause of homosexuals in Singapore.’’

Businessman Alex Au, who had requested government permission to hold Singapore’s first forum on gays and lesbians on Sunday, said he was saddened by the ban.

"It seems that civil society can only operate within the narrow confines of what the authorities deem to be the public interest," Au said.

Dana Lam, president of the Association of Women for Action and Research, said the police statement "makes the environment sound very hostile to the gay segment of the population."

"If we can deny people their right to an open forum, if we can threaten imprisonment to their face for what is essentially a private act, what will we do next?" Lam said.

Police noted that anyone convicted of having "unnatural sex" can be sentenced to life imprisonment.

"The mainstream moral values of Singaporeans are conservative," the police statement said.

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