Singapore: Foreign companies told to stop sponsoring LGBT event

Pink Dot 2016

Pink Dot 2016

The Singapore government has moved to block foreign companies from supporting the country’s annual Pink Dot LGBT rights event.

In a statement, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs warned multinationals that they “should not interfere in our domestic issues, especially political issues or controversial social issues with political overtones”.

The ministry explained that organisers of the Pink Dot event, which is held in Hong Lim Park’s Speakers’ Corner, use the less restricted location to allow the LGBT community to express “its views, on issues of concern to it…”

Speakers’ Corner is an area of the park where citizens and permanent residents of Singapore may demonstrate, hold exhibitions and performances, and speak freely on most topics, including those restricted in other parts of the country.

The ministry went on to argue that LGBT issues are among the “political, social or moral choices for Singaporeans to decide for ourselves”.

It said that, it “will take steps to make it clear that foreign entities should not fund, support or influence such events held at the Speakers’ Corner,” including events both for and against LGBT equality.

This year’s corporate sponsors of Pink Dot, which took place last weekend, included the likes of Apple, BP, Barclays, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Google, J.P. Morgan and Twitter.

The organisers of Pink Dot responded that they have worked “to push the envelope in helping to create greater visibility of Singapore’s LGBT community” but have done all they can “to ensure Pink Dot SG stays within the law”.

They also pointed out that the “corporate sponsors that have supported us over the years are all registered and incorporated in Singapore”.

The eighth Pink Dot event saw thousands of Singaporeans gathering at Speakers’ Corner on Saturday 4 June to “send a message of inclusivity and helping to foster a society that embraces diversity”.

The organisers started: “We are looking forward to the day when everyone in Singapore understands and celebrates the fact that the Freedom to Love is a fundamental human right that should not be denied to anyone.”

Penalties for consensual gay sex in Singapore include up to two years in prison, but the ban is rarely enforced.

In October 2014, Singapore’s Supreme Court rejected a bid to repeal the British colonial-era criminalisation of sex between men, saying this should be up to lawmakers.

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