Singaporeans remain deeply divided on the issue of recognizing gay civil partnerships here

Photo: Pink Dot SG / Facebook
Photo: Pink Dot SG / Facebook

Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam was right — Singapore remains “deeply split” on the matter of gay rights in the country. According to a new study by market research company YouGov, only 34 percent of Singaporeans are supportive of same-sex civil partnerships.

It’s a lower figure than the 43 percent of Singaporeans who oppose its legalization. The remaining 23 percent would rather remain mum about their opinions.

A same-sex civil partnership is defined as a legally recognized arrangement similar to marriage, created primarily as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples.

Graphic: YouGov
Graphic: YouGov

Answers provided by the 1,033 Singaporean respondents for the YouGov survey varied according to their age, education level, and religious position. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that younger folks between the age of 18 to 34 are more likely to support same-sex civil partnerships — nearly half (48 percent) of Singaporeans in the age range voiced their support. Meanwhile, only 22 percent of those aged 55 and over could say the same.

Education comes in play as well. For those without a degree, only 26 percent agree that gay marriage should be legalized as opposed to the 41 percent of university degree holders who do. It’s interesting to note that 40 percent of university degree holders actually oppose changing the law to support LGBT rights in Singapore.

Graphic: YouGov
Graphic: YouGov

It goes without saying that faith is a big factor in one’s stance on the issue of LGBT equality. A big 67 percent of those who identified themselves as “very much” religious are against the idea of recognizing same-sex civil partnership in Singapore. For those who consider themselves not that religious, 51 percent are in favor of legalizing gay civil partnerships.

While those who identify as LGBT are overwhelming in support of changing the law, there is a small portion (22 percent) who oppose civil unions. Knowing someone from the LGBT community also helps in swaying one’s opinion on the matter.

“While there is talk of Thailand potentially preparing to recognize same-sex civil partnerships, this data shows that Singaporeans are clearly split on this issue,” commented Jake Gammon, the Head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC.

Thailand, which on Christmas Day became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical marijuana, now stands at the doorway of another potential historic first in the region — the legalization of same-sex partnerships. Three in five Thais, or 63 percent of netizens surveyed by YouGov, support same-sex civil partnerships.

Last year marked the tenth edition of annual gay rights rally Pink Dot, where thousands of Singaporeans continue to voice their support for the local LGBT community in a dazzling display of hope for change in the country.

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