Singapore repeals colonial-era gay sex law

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 29 2022 07:34 PM

A woman is dwarfed by the Merlion statue and buildings of the financial district in Singapore, July 14, 2021. Wallace Woon, EPA-EFE 
A woman is dwarfed by the Merlion statue and buildings of the financial district in Singapore, July 14, 2021. Wallace Woon, EPA-EFE 

SINGAPORE –– Singapore's parliament on Tuesday repealed a law criminalizing sex between men, striking down colonial-era legislation that has long been criticized as discriminatory and stigmatizing to the LGBTQ community.

The law, Section 377A, penalized sex between men with up to 2 years in jail, although the statute was not actively enforced.

"I am happy that it had finally happened," a member of the LGBTQ community who wanted to be known only by his first name Justin told AFP.

"One less reason for me to hide my true self, because of some archaic law. But this is just the first step to remove the social and religious stigma that has been upon the community because of outdated beliefs, and media censorship."

Parliament, however, also amended the constitution to uphold the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, effectively blocking full marriage equality.

The moves follow several failed attempts to have the gay sex legislation repealed in the courts, with a panel of judges ruling in February that the law held symbolic weight but it could not be actively enforced.

Parliament voted 93 in favor of the repeal, with 3 against and no abstentions.

© Agence France-Presse

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