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Gay Pop Duo Banned From Singapore AIDS Benefit Concert

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Recording artists Jason and deMarco, a popular singing duo that has performed at numerous festivals, has been officially banned from playing an AIDS fundraising benefit in Singapore by the national government, because the two are gay.

Jason says, “Ironically, we just played a concert that was a benefit for the foundation formed in memory of Matthew Shepard, who was beaten to death for being gay. It was held by his mother, and the very next day, we are informed of this. The discrimination that goes on against gay people is not just an issue that goes on in Singapore, it happens everywhere. Go to any city around the world, and you will find it.”

The upcoming Singapore concert, slated for April 3, is being held by Safehaven, a Christian organization, that was negotiating with the Media Development Authority (MDA), a branch of the Singapore government, to hold the concert. Jason and deMarco’s appearance came to a halt, however, when Koh June May, spokeswoman for the MDA, issued a statement on behalf of the Singapore government saying, “Alternative lifestyles are against the public interest.”

May added, “Based on the reports about the duo’s performances in the United States and the duo’s website, the duo uses their musical performance and their own example of being a couple to celebrate and promote a gay lifestyle.”

Jason and deMarco, however, are adamant that their lyrics do not express any agenda, gay or otherwise. “It is the fact we are gay that is the reason we have been banned by the government from playing at the benefit,” says deMarco.

Jason and deMarco appear on the recently released “Love Rocks,” a benefit compilation CD for the Human Rights Campaign, on which other recording artists appear, including Melissa Etheridge, Christina Aguilera and the Dixie Chicks. The duo has received positive reviews in a variety of publications, and they have also been featured on the cover of the newsmagazine “The Advocate.”

The group learned of the ban from a Singapore news report, but have not received any notification from the government or Safehaven as of yet.

A letter sent from Safehaven yesterday to Dr. Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, appealing the decision, also included footage of the duo’s recent performance at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood, California, noting that their act is “strictly professional.”

The Singapore government has recently caused similar controversy this month, by making other openly anti-gay statements. Says Jason, “We are very concerned about the intolerance against gay people that is expressed and enforced by the government of Singapore, and we are asking people to speak out.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers