Singapore said Monday it is considering tightening adoption laws after a gay man won a landmark court battle to adopt a child he fathered via a surrogate in the US.
While Singapore is affluent and modern in many ways, attitudes towards homosexuality are often highly conservative.
Gay marriage is not permitted and sex between men remains illegal under a law that dates from the British colonial era, although it is rarely enforced.
In the latest case, the man — who is in a long-term relationship — first enquired about adopting in Singapore but was told a homosexual couple was unlikely to get permission.
He found a surrogate in the United States who agreed to carry his child for US$200,000. A son was born and is now five years old.
The man, a 46-year-old pathologist who has not been identified, brought the boy back to Singapore and applied to formally adopt him, in the hope of securing him Singapore citizenship.
After a lengthy legal battle, the High Court last month sided with him in a landmark ruling.
But on Monday Desmond Lee, minister for social and family development, told parliament that “the prevailing social norm in our society is still that of a man and woman marrying, and having and bringing up children, within a stable family unit.
“This is also the family structure that government encourages”.
Following the court case, his ministry was “reviewing our adoption laws and practices to see how they should be strengthened to better reflect public policy”, he added.
Jean Chong, from Singapore-based advocacy group Sayoni, accused the government of “abandoning LGBT families, and making setting up a family and living in Singapore impossible”.
“The world is evolving, the government needs to keep up,” she told AFP.