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Singapore to end discriminatory ban on gay sex

Singapore will repeal an antiquated law that bans gay sex, thereby effectively making it legal to be homosexual in the city-state.

Photo by Jirath Ninchaikovit from Unsplash.com

Singapore will repeal an antiquated law that bans gay sex, thereby effectively making it legal to be homosexual in the city-state.

The decision was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who said that this move will bring “the country’s laws in line with current social mores, and I hope, provide some relief to gay Singaporeans”.

Despite its “open city” image, Singapore is actually known to harbor conservative values. For LGBTQIA people, this is exemplified by the colonial-era 377A law that banned sex between men. This law was inherited from the British, and which the city-state chose to retain after independence in 1965. Though it has not been actively enforced in recent years, its very existence has been thorny for local LGBTQIA people.

Lee said they as this law is abolished, he believed “this is the right thing to do, and something that most Singaporeans will accept”. He noted that “gay people are now better accepted” and scrapping 377A would bring the country’s laws in line with “current social mores, and I hope, provide some relief to gay Singaporeans”.

“Singaporeans still have differing views on whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but most people accept that a person’s sexual orientation and behavior is a private and personal matter, and that sex between men should not be a criminal offense.”

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But while 377A is repealed, Lee said that Singapore will continue to “uphold and safeguard the institution of marriage.”

With this, and under the law, “only marriages between one man and one woman are recognized in Singapore” since “most Singaporeans still want… to retain the basic family structure of marriage between a man and a woman, within which we have and raise our children.”

To ensure that the definition of marriage won’t be challenged on constitutional grounds in the courts, they will also amend the city-state’s constitution to deny LGBTQIA people marriage equality.

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