Singapore to repeal colonial-era law banning sex between men

Singapore announced on Sunday that it would decriminalize sex between men by repealing a colonial-era law while protecting the city-state’s definition of marriage.

During his speech at the annual National Day rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he thought it was the « right thing to do now » because most Singaporeans would now accept it.

« This will bring the law into line with current social patterns and I hope to bring some relief to gay Singaporeans, » the prime minister said during his speech at the annual National Day rally.

It was unclear exactly when the law known as Section 377A would be repealed, but Lee said the government would also amend the constitution to ensure there could be no constitutional challenge to allowing same-sex marriage.

“Even if we repeal Section 377A, we will uphold and protect the institution of marriage,” he said. « We need to amend the constitution to protect it. And we will. It will help us repeal Section 377A in a controlled and careful way. »

Participants at a Pink Dot rally held in Singapore’s Hong Lim Park on June 29, 2019, form the Repeal 377A characters in a call to repeal the law that criminalizes sex between men. (Ore Huiyin/Getty Images)

Under Section 337A, offenders can be imprisoned for up to two years, but the law is currently not actively enforced.

There have been no known convictions for sex between consenting adult males for decades. The law does not include sexual relations between women or other genders.

In February, Singapore’s highest court ruled that since the law was not enforced, it did not violate constitutional rights, as plaintiffs had argued, while reaffirming that the law could not be used to prosecute. men for having gay sex.

Several LGBTQ rights groups on Sunday said in a joint statement that they were « relieved » by Lee’s announcement, but they also urged the government to ignore calls from religious conservatives to register the traditional definition of marriage in the constitution, saying it would signal that LGBTQ citizens were not equal.


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