The Family Pledge discriminates against single parents
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Written by Ng E-Jay
01 August 2013
The recently unveiled Family Pledge by the National Family Council intones: “We affirm the commitment of marriage between husband and wife.” In so doing, the Pledge marginalizes the courageous community of single parents who raise their children in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Already, in an effort at anchoring the traditional concept of Family as the foundation of Singapore society, the government has needlessly and cruelly institutionalized discrimination against Singles and against Single Parents. The Family Pledge by a supposedly politically and religiously neutral organization further drives a crucifix into the hearts of those brave mothers and fathers who have chosen to shoulder the responsibility of raising a child on their own, with sheer bravery.
In all these years, rather than showing compassion toward single parents who did not renege on their responsibility of parenthood, the government has instead chosen to marginalize them and discriminate against them in policy. See this: Single mothers should be given Baby Bonuses and other benefits.
There are many reasons why single parents exist. Some had the misfortune of enduring the death of a spouse, and found themselves saddled with kids to raise on their own. Others were compelled to go through divorce, either because of an abusive spouse, or because of other circumstances beyond their control. Some women found themselves impregnated by a boyfriend who later ran away from his responsibilities and left the poor girl in a lurch, with the baby to care for all by herself. All these people found within themselves the inner strength and fortitude to discharge their responsibilities as parents.
No one becomes a single parent on a whim or on a flight of fancy.
Why then, is there still so much social stigma directed at single parents? Till date, some people still believe single parents are those who misbehaved sexually in some way, and brought it upon themselves. This stereotyping is blatantly unfair and revolting. Indeed, it is inhumanity of the highest order.
When then, does the government pander to the bigoted attitudes by institutionalizing discrimination against singles and single parents? This is wrong — morally, socially, and politically wrong. Wrong in the deepest sense of the word.
The NFC’s latest salvo against single parents is worthy of contempt. I call upon all Singaporeans to reject the Family Pledge unless and until it is amended to give due recognition to single parents and their courageous role in nation building.
PostScript: The NFC appears to have affiliation to Christian right-wing groups like Focus on the Family. See this screenshot which is taken from NFC’s homepage under “About Us”: