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Singapore to Repeal 1930’s Colonial Law Prohibiting Gay Sex

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Singapore to Repeal 1930's Colonial Law Prohibiting Gay Sex

Singapore’s Prime Minister has announced he will repeal a colonial-era law prohibiting sex between men, but he will amend the constitution so that same-sex marriages will not be permitted.

Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s premier, said that repealing the law is now the “right thing to do” since most Singaporeans are now accepting decriminalization.

No law and order issues are associated with private sexual behaviour between consenting adults. There is no justification for prosecuting people for it or making it a crime,” Lee said. “I hope this will provide some relief to gay Singaporeans by aligning the law with current social mores,” attitudes are changing due to factors like gay celebrities like Troye Sivan.

In his speech at the annual National Day Rally, Premier Lee vowed that the repeal would be limited so that Singapore’s traditional family and societal norms would remain intact. This included how marriage is defined, what children are taught in schools, what is shown on television, and what conduct is expected from the general public.

The Premier also said his government would amend the constitution to prevent constitutional challenges to same-sex marriages.

Singapore to Repeal 1930's Colonial Law Prohibiting Gay Sex

Singapore to Uphold Gay Marriage Ban

The institution of marriage will be safeguarded and upheld even as Section 377A is repealed,” Lee said. In order to protect it, we need to amend the constitution. We will do just that. By doing this, we will be able to repeal Section 377A in a controlled and careful manner.”

Under British colonial rule, Section 377A was introduced into the Penal Code in the 1930s. When Singapore became a state of Malaysia in 1963, British rule over the island ended.

Two years later, Singapore became independent, but retained the Penal Code, which made sex between men punishable by up to two years in jail.

When Parliament debated repealing Section 377A last in 2007, it maintained its position that the law should remain but not be enforced.

British Colonial Laws Still Exist, singapore

British Colonial Laws Still Exist

In spite of this, gay men contend that the law discriminates against them and hangs over their heads. Annually, thousands of activists rally in support of the LGBTQ community in the city-state known as the “Pink Dot“.

The Premier said he hopes the government’s decision will address both conservative religious groups’ concerns and gay Singaporeans’ desire to be respected and accepted.

It is imperative that all groups practice restraint in order for our nation to move forward together. As long as the new balance remains in place, Singapore will remain a tolerant and inclusive society.”

There are still laws criminalizing sex between men in other former British colonies, such as Malaysia, where a former deputy premier was jailed twice for sodomy. The two cases that he was sentenced to in 2000 and 2014 were said to have been politically motivated by critics.

In India a Supreme Court ruling in 2018, gay sex was decriminalized after Section 377, which punished gay sex by up to 10 years in jail, was overturned. In 2019, Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage.

Recently, Thailand approved plans allowing same-sex marriages.

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