Singapore will abolish colonial-era laws criminalizing sex between men. This is a landmark decision that the LGBTQ+ group describes as “a triumph for humanity.”

In a national address on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said repealing Section 377A of the penal code would bring the law in line with current social attitudes and “provide gay Singaporeans with some reassurance.” said.

But Lee added that the government does not want “total changes in our society”, including changing the legal definition of marriage.

“Even if we repeal 377A, we still support and protect the institution of marriage. Under the law, only marriage between one man and one woman is allowed in Singapore,” he said. said.

Section 377A, introduced under British colonial rule, criminalizes “gross indecency with another man”. The law carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, but is not believed to have been in force for more than 10 years.

Campaigners gather in a file to protest against Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, which criminalizes “gross indecency with another man”. Photo: Feline Lim/Reuters

Over the years, campaigners have repeatedly challenged Section 377A in court, without success.

A joint statement released by 22 LGBTQ+ groups expressed their relief that the law would finally be changed, describing the news as “a hard-won victory, a victory of love over fear.”

“The repeal of Section 377A has been long overdue, but it is an important milestone and a strong statement that state-sanctioned discrimination does not exist in Singapore.” A cause movement supporting the LGBTQ+ community. He called the decision “a victory for mankind.”

“For all who have experienced bullying, rejection and harassment made possible by this law, the repeal of this law will finally allow the healing process to begin. People longing for a more equal and inclusive Singapore.” For us, abolition means change is really possible.”

But the group said the move to repeal the law came too late for many. For its cascading effects, including, abolition cannot fully correct the historical wrongs you’ve faced.”

The group also expressed disappointment that Lee said he intended to change the constitution to prevent future legal challenges to the existing definition of marriage.

Polls suggest Singaporeans have become more supportive of same-sex relationships. An Ipsos survey released in June found that less than half (44%) of those surveyed agreed with Section 377A, down from 55% of her in 2018.

A gay couple kisses at a huge wedding reception in front of the presidential palace in Taipei. Taiwan is the only Asian country that legally recognizes same-sex marriage.
A gay couple kisses at a huge wedding reception in front of the presidential palace in Taipei. Taiwan is the only Asian country that legally recognizes same-sex marriage. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images

However, religious groups have spoken out against the change, saying it could lead to further demands for same-sex marriage.

Lee said in his National Day speech on Sunday that most Singaporeans don’t know what their definition of marriage is, or what they “teach their children in schools, it’s shown on free-to-air TV or in cinemas, or in general. He said he didn’t want “what’s being done” to change. acceptable conduct in public”.

Singapore’s broadcasting regulations restrict content that promotes an LGBTQ+ “lifestyle” and have drawn attention, such as Barack Obama praising the host as a role model when he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016. Collecting figures were to be censored. Recently, Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear was rated as inappropriate for children under 16 because it features a lesbian couple.

Benjamin Xue, co-founder of LGBTQ+ youth advocacy group Young Out Here, said the announcement that Section 377A would be repealed was a pivotal moment he hoped would “increase empathy and understanding of future policy changes.” He said there is

Section 377 is a legacy of colonial rule and continues to exist in some form in many Asian countries, including Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Myanmar and Brunei.

Taiwan is the only country in Asia that legally recognizes same-sex marriage.

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