LGBT rights advocacy “remains a socially divisive issue,” the Singapore Police Force said in response to the application to hold the Pink Run on Aug 16 according to a DPA report in nationmultimedia.com.
Organizers on their Facebook page said quoting from a police statement said that their application was “rejected in the interest of public order.”
The statement however did suggested an alternative event at Speakers’ Corner, in a small park in the centre of Singapore where protest events can be held without a permit.
“It is disappointing but what I am more concerned about was the response that was given and how the police has framed advocacy as socially divisive,” said organizer Nicholas Deroose was quoted as saying.”We just wanted to go out for a run; we were not planning to upset public order.”
This is the second time the LGBT rights advocates have tried to organize such an event. The first attempt was seven years ago. Then police told organizers that doing so would contravene the Miscellaneous Offences Act.
Gay rights are a contentious issue in Singapore, with many either wanting to retain or abrogate a British colonial-era “Section 377A” law that criminalizes sex between men with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.
Groups in opposition of equality rights do not even want a debate on discarding the law and have become vociferous in opposing gay rights ever since Singapore recently witnessed its largest gay-rights rally with 26,000 people attending.
The government claims it does not actively enforce anti-gay laws but the state judiciary are notorious for throwing out anti-gay discrimination lawsuits and proceeding against those who question that decision.
Recently, Singapore’s National Library Board banned from libraries three children’s books featuring same-sex couples because it thought that these titles were best kept off its shelves as they were unsuitable for children.
Later on the government rescinded and ordered that they instead be placed in the adult section of the public libraries.