Definition of marriage won't change under my watch, if PAP wins next election: Lawrence Wong

Not on his watch.

Sulaiman Daud | August 23, 2022, 04:07 PM

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Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong made clear his position, and that of the People's Action Party, that the current legal definition of marriage between one man and one woman will not change.

Speaking in a CNA interview, Wong was asked about the impact of Section 377A's repeal on other national policies, and a so-called "cascading effect" that some social conservatives are worried about.

He said:

"Well, let me be very clear. The government will continue to uphold our family-centred policies. We are fully committed to that, and we will continue to uphold marriage as defined as between man and woman.

PM himself said this very clearly in his speech – the PAP government will not change the current definition of marriage.

So this will not change, this will not happen under the watch of the current prime minister, and it will not happen under my watch – if the PAP were to win the next General Election."

Wong, who is also the finance minister, elaborated that the laws and policies that rely on such a definition of marriage will not be changed and the "overall tone of society" will not change.

No change

Following Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's announcement, government ministries and statutory boards hastened to emphasise that the status quo will be maintained.

Wong also said the government has received feedback from people on both sides of the debate who have reported harassment or discrimination for sharing their views.

He said:

"We are monitoring this very closely and we will take action and steps against any such acts of discrimination or harassment. There is no place for such behaviours in Singapore. No one should feel threatened because of their religious affiliation. No one should be threatened because they are LGBT."

Wong called for restraint and tolerance, and commented that if one side were to push "too hard", the other side will push back even harder and split society.

Govt committed to strengthening family structure

In a separate interview, Law Minister K Shanmugam said:

"This Government's position is very clear, and you have also heard what DPM Lawrence has said. We are committed to strengthening the current structure of marriage, strengthening the family structure, and the policies that surround that structure of family. We think that is what is fundamental for Singapore, and in fact, we are amending the Constitution to strengthen that position."

PM Lee announced that the government will be amending the Constitution to protect the legal definition of marriage from a court challenge.

Shanmugam explained that the definition of marriage is outlined in the Women's Charter.

Shanmugam, who is also the Home Affairs Minister, added:

"On the first point, our policies on marriage, and other related policies centred on marriage – I have said housing, education, social policies – they are not going to change. In fact, we are going further. We are going to protect these policies from legal challenge, by amending the Constitution."

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Top image from CNA YouTube.