According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore is not ready for same-sex marriage today as it is still a “conservative” society. He cited “pushback” from conservative groups against same-sex marriage as the main obstacle.

Lee Hsien Loong was speaking on a range of topics to reporters from around the region today, including Singapore’s stance on same-sex marriage.

He said although the West has led the way in terms of legalizing same sex marriage, he said that these places experienced “considerable resistance” too.

“There is a trend in developed countries. In America, they have gay marriage. It is state by state. Not all states have agreed. In Europe, some countries have done it … but there was big considerable resistance,” says Lee. “Even in America, there is a very strong pushback from conservative groups against the idea.”

“No, I do not think Singapore is ready … In Singapore, there is a range of views. There are gay groups in Singapore, there are gay people in Singapore and they have a place to stay here and we let them live their own lives. And we do not harass them or discriminate against them.” Lee added.

“But neither, I think, if you ask most Singaporeans, do we want the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community to set the tone for Singapore society. The society is basically a conservative one. It is changing, but it is changing gradually and there are different views, including views especially from the religious groups who push back … It is completely understandable.”

Lee says that the government feels that this position “is not a bad place to be”.

“There is space for the gay community, but they should not push the agenda too hard because if they (do), there will be a very strong pushback,” he added.

“And this is not an issue where there is a possibility that the two sides can discuss and eventually come to a consensus. Now, these are very entrenched views and the more you discuss, the angrier people get.”

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