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Anti-Gay Singapore Prof Cancels NYU Stint After Backlash

by VR Sreeraman on July 26, 2009 at 11:10 AM
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 Anti-Gay Singapore Prof Cancels NYU Stint After Backlash

A Singaporean law professor has pulled out of a teaching stint at New York University after her hardline anti-gay views triggered a backlash on campus, school officials said.

Richard Revesz, dean of New York University's law school, said Thio Li-ann had informed him she would not be teaching during the fall semester because of "controversy surrounding her views regarding homosexuality and gay rights."

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"She explained that she was disappointed by what she called the atmosphere of hostility by some members of our community towards her views and by the low enrolments in her classes," he said in a statement seen Friday.

Thio, a former appointed member of parliament and a current professor at the National University of Singapore, which has an exchange programme with NYU, could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
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The 41-year-old was due to teach courses on human rights law and constitutionalism in Asia at NYU during the fall semester starting in September.

Singapore's Straits Times said NYU students were outraged after learning that Thio had said in a parliamentary debate in 2007 that repealing a colonial-era law making sex between men a criminal offence "would subvert social morality, the common good and undermine our liberties."

More than 800 members of the NYU community signed a petition against Thio after gay rights activists circulated copies of her speech, it said.

Revesz said he was not aware of the anti-gay speech when NYU made the offer to Thio, and both courses have now been cancelled as a result of her pullout.

In Singapore, sex between men is still a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison under a law dating back to British colonial rule, although it is rarely enforced.

Source: AFP
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