Freedom to love? Not exactly

On the 28th of June, people from around Singapore will gather to raise awareness for the LGBTQ community and promote the freedom to love. Personally, I think having such platforms to share and talk about these issues is a good idea. However, what I find misleading is this slogan of “supporting freedom to love”.

This slogan carries the implication that those who oppose the pink dot movement are people who do not support the freedom to love. But I think with certain clarifications, we can come to realize that this isn’t true. In fact, I don’t even think this is the issue at hand. The statement “freedom to love” in this context is in my opinion a misnomer. I personally think that both groups of people who support and do not support this movement will agree that freedom to love has its own limitations.

For example, if we had a group of pedophiles or people who support bestiality wanting to come together and promote their cause with the slogan “supporting freedom to love”, we would clearly object. Some may give the reason that in the case of pedophilia or bestiality the other party is unable to give consent or at least not of age to give consent. But that being the case, the term freedom to love becomes moot. Rather, it seems that what is at stake for the LGBTQ community is not so much the freedom to love but the freedom to have a certain kind of love – love between two consenting adults. However, upon further thought, I think it can also be argued that technically speaking, the freedom to love within the LGBTQ community is already in place. What I mean is that in Singapore, there is currently no rule prohibiting homosexuals from being in a relationship with one another. While there is 377a which states that sexual activities between two men is illegal, that is not the same as saying that homosexuals do not have the freedom to love one another or that being a homosexual is illegal.

So it seems to me that the freedom between consenting adults to love one another is already given. In that case, what exactly is the Pink Dot movement pushing for? I do not think it is simply freedom to love as how they put it. If I had to make a guess, I think a better slogan would be “Gaining State Recognition and Acceptance For the Love and Union Between Homosexuals” – in other words, the heart of this issue lies closer to an appeal to the State to redefine marriage so as to include homosexual couples. And if I am right, then those who oppose the movement do not oppose the freedom to love as how the slogan currently implies. But instead rejects the idea that society and State should redefine marriage.

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