Singapore Authorities Deny Permit for AIDS Benefit Concert, Say Featuring Gay Couple in Show Not in ‘Public Interest’
Singapore's Media Development Authority has turned down a permit for an AIDS benefit concert scheduled for April 3 and organized by the Christian group Safehaven, saying that the show would not be in the "public interest" because the main performers are a gay couple, Singapore's Straits Times reports (Lim, Straits Times, 3/23). Safehaven had planned to feature the Los Angeles-based Christian gay pop duo Jason & deMarco, according to Reuters. However, MDA in a statement said, "Based on the duo's Web site and reports of their performances in the United States, it is assessed that their performance will promote a gay lifestyle, which would be against the public interest." Safehaven said that the concert would raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men, according to Reuters (Wong, Reuters, 3/23).
Safer Sex Message
Safehaven said that the concert would promote a recent message from Dr. Balaji Sadasivan, senior minister of state for the city state's Ministry of Health, that members of the gay community should have "zero tolerance" toward unsafe sex, according to the Straits Times (Straits Times, 3/23). "We invited Jason & deMarco because they are a monogamous couple for the past five years and we wanted to send forth the message to the gay community that a monogamous relationship and responsible attitude towards sex should be the approach to take," Peter Goh, a Safehaven coordinator, said (Reuters, 3/23). In a letter to Dr. Lee Boon Yang, minister for information, communications and the arts, Safehaven said, "This concert will save lives and transform mindsets for the better," adding, "To disallow it outright on the basis that the performers are a gay couple fails to appreciate the important public health impact this concert will have in the years to come on the gay community in Singapore" (Straits Times, 3/23).