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Singapore Decriminalizes Sex Between Men, Limits Same-Sex Marriage

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Singapore Decriminalizes Gay Sex, Limits Same-Sex Marriage

Singapore’s parliament decriminalized sex between men on Tuesday, but in a blow to the LGBT community, it also amended the constitution to prevent court challenges that have led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in other countries.

Other Asian countries, including Taiwan, Thailand, and India, are also recognizing more rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Activists applauded Singapore’s repeal, but said the constitutional amendment is disappointing because it means citizens will be unable to file legal challenges to issues such as the definition of marriage, family, and related policies, which will be decided solely by the executive and legislature.

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The government has defended amending the constitution, claiming that such decisions should not be made by the courts. Changes to the current legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman have been ruled out by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his successor.

“We will try to strike a balance…to maintain a stable society with traditional, heterosexual family values, but with space for homosexuals to live their lives and contribute to society,” Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said this week in parliament.

 

Because of the ruling People’s Action Party’s parliamentary dominance, both the repeal and the constitutional amendment were passed with an overwhelming majority. There is no set date for when the new laws will go into effect.

However, the changes allow for a future parliament to broaden the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships.

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Bryan Choong, chair of the LGBTQ advocacy group Oogachaga, called it a watershed moment for activists who had been campaigning for the repeal of Section 377A for 15 years. He did, however, add that LGBT couples and families “have the right to be recognized and protected.”

In recent years, attitudes toward LGBT issues in Singapore have shifted toward a more liberal stance, particularly among the young, though conservative attitudes persist among religious groups.

According to the Institute of Policy Studies, approximately 42% of those aged 18-25 accepted same-sex marriage in 2018, up from 17% just five years prior.

Vogue Magazine in Singapore Penalized for Vulgar Content

Vogue Magazine in Singapore Penalized for Vulgar Content

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