An emotional and personal letter that was meant to appeal to the MPs as parents of children who could be gay had failed to pull at their heartstrings, even when the letter pointed out that current anti-gay laws would make their children criminals just on the basis of their sexuality.
"At some point, you will have to tell your gay children that they are criminals in Singapore through no fault of their own.
The letter which was sent on last Wednesday - on the eve of Chinese New Year - to all MPs had hoped that the legislators would consider decriminalising homosexual oral sex as they review the Penal Code with the intention of decriminalising between a man and a woman above the age of consent. Many, however, believe that the review will not include oral sex between members of the same-sex.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs, Prof Ho Peng Kee, announced the move on Jan 6 after a case involving a 27-year-old policeman who was jailed for two years last November for having oral sex sparked off an intense public debate in the media as well as on the Internet.
According to The Straits Times who contacted nine MPs about the letter, several said that "society may not be ready for the group's agenda to be pushed, and that using tactics that played on emotions could dilute the issue."
Mr Arthur Fong (West Coast GRC) said that as the Government opens up, individuals and groups may try to raise particular issues. But he added: "Those who use this avenue must respect the space of others as well."
The report, however, did not specify how a letter calling for legislators to apply the law to both homosexuals and heterosexuals would be read as being disrespectful to others.
Mr Gan Kim Yong (Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC) told the paper: "Its main argument is there will be some homosexuals among us and our children, given statistical averages."
"However, I think the mere statistical presence of homosexuals among us does not make it the right thing to do and certainly does not imply fundamental shifts in societal norms." Said Mr Gan whom the paper also noted that he has two daughters, aged 12 and nine.
He said so despite the warning of a worst case scenario for a lesbian daughter who has to keep up appearances: "Or you could be a strict parent and insist that they keep up appearances at all cost. Your daughter must get married, even if her heart feels nothing for any man. Once married, she must allow herself to be repeatedly raped by someone she does not love - her husband. All in the name of the norms that heterosexist laws enshrine."
"Supporting the continued criminalisation of homosexual sex between consenting adults is a violation of your love for your own children," the letter concluded.
The response was not unexpected as Eileena Lee who is one of the three signatories of the letter, along with Kelvin Wong and Alex Au, told Fridae: "The [intention of the] letter was to generate a new and fresh angle to get publicity. The desired outcome was to get the many MPs to reflect on the issue from a different angle - that of their conscience."
(Letter replicated in full on page 2.)
People Like Us sends open letter to Parliament: All oral sex should be decriminalized
It is likely that a bill amending the Penal Code section pertaining to oral sex will be presented soon to Parliament for your approval. Based on what has been mentioned in the recent sitting of Parliament, it is likely that the bill will leave oral sex between two persons of the same sex as a criminal offence.
You will hear from other forums all the reasons why this would be bad law, chiefly because it would be discriminatory.
This is not just an academic question, since by the law of probability, some Members of Parliament will have gay sons or lesbian daughters.
With 94 MPs, assuming 2 offspring per MP on average, there may be around 190 sons and daughters. Even using the lowest incidence of homosexuality, about 2% of the population -- a figure that the homophobic lobby prefers to use -- there are likely to be 4 gay or lesbian sons or daughters among them. Using an incidence estimate that most researchers accept as a reasonable ballpark figure, 6%, there are likely to be 11 or 12 gay/lesbian offspring among the 190.
We don't even need to use the 10% incidence rate that some researchers have found. We don't need to include nephews, nieces or grandchildren whom you may dearly
Chances are that, as a parent, you don't know whether your child is gay or not. Often, we hear that the parents are the last to know - which tells you a lot about the degree of discrimination gay people face and the extent of cover-up they must construct.
At some point, you will have to tell your gay children that they are criminals in Singapore through no fault of their own.
The only way they would not be criminals would be if they never ever became intimate with anyone they fell in love with, abandoning any prospect of a fulfilling personal life. Alternatively, they would have to emigrate from Singapore.
Or you could be a strict parent and insist that they keep up appearances at all cost. Your daughter must get married, even if her heart feels nothing for any man. Once married, she must allow herself to be repeatedly raped by someone she does not love - her husband. All in the name of the norms that heterosexist laws enshrine.
This doesn't apply to me or my family -- we are all apt to say. We know our children are not gay -- parents are apt to say. But the law of probability tells us some of you are going to be proven wrong.
Supporting the continued criminalisation of homosexual sex between consenting adults is a violation of your love for your own children.
In November 2003, a police officer, Anis Abdullah, was convicted under Section 377 of Singapore's Penal Code, for "carnal intercourse against the order of nature". Anis was found guilty of having received fellatio from a 16-year-old girl whom he had dated.
Following his conviction, there was an outcry from the general public who were surprised that oral sex was still a criminal offence in Singapore. On 6 January 2004, Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee made a statement in Parliament to the effect that the law on oral sex was under review, with the likely prospect that consensual oral sex between adult males and females would be decriminalized.
People Like Us is a gay advocacy group in Singapore since 1993, which the government still refuses to recognise.