In the wake of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Aug. 21 pledge to protect the nation’s definition of marriage, which excludes same-sex unions, in the Constitution, the government quickly mobilized top ministers to try to calm a storm brewing between the LGBTQ community and some religious groups.

The next morning, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, the man tipped to succeed Lee as premier, spoke to the nation’s main broadcaster about how to "live harmoniously,” while Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam explained to the island’s biggest newspaper the move was to prevent the marriage definition being challenged in court.

The fallout from Lee’s speech shows the new generation of leaders taking over the helm will have their work cut out to control a divisive issue in Singapore’s multicultural society as members of the LGBTQ community advocate for greater acceptance and conservative groups push back.