- After India, Taiwan, and Thailand, Singapore is the most recent country in Asia to take action on LGBT rights.
- The city-state is renowned for its conservatism.
- more and more people in recent years have campaigned for the repeal of the 377A.
Section 377A, a law that forbids gay sex in Singapore will be repealed, making homosexuality acceptable there. After years of heated discussion, the decision was made and was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on national television.
Singapore’s LGBT community has hailed the decision as “a win for humanity.”
The city-state is renowned for its conservatism, but more and more people in recent years have campaigned for the repeal of the 377A statute from the colonial era.
After India, Taiwan, and Thailand, Singapore is the most recent country in Asia to take action on LGBT rights.
In an effort to placate all parties, the government’s previous position was to maintain 377A, which forbids males from having sex with other men, but also committed not to enforce the legislation.
However, Mr. Lee announced on Sunday night that they would repeal the law because they thought “this is the right thing to do, and something that most Singaporeans will accept”.
The repeal of 377A, he said, would bring the laws of the nation into step with “current social mores and, I hope, provide some relief to gay Singaporeans,” since “gay people are now better accepted.”
“We finally did it, and we’re ecstatic that this discriminatory, antiquated law is finally going to be off the books. There’s a sense that maybe it took a little too long, but it had to happen, you know. Today we are very, very happy,” Johnson Ong, a gay activist, told the BBC.
It was a “hard-won victory and a triumph of love over fear,” according to a coalition of LGBT rights organisations, which added that it was the first step towards complete equality.
However, they also raised worry about a different declaration Mr. Lee made during the same speech.
He had promised that the government will improve the legal protection of the union of a man and a woman as the definition of marriage. This would essentially make it more difficult to legalise gay marriage.
He claimed that many people in Singapore are committed to upholding traditional family values and societal mores.
LGBT campaigners referred to this as “disappointing” and cautioned that it would only serve to further institutionalize discrimination in society.
A conservative group called Protect Singapore stated they were “deeply disappointed” that the repeal was proceeding without a guarantee of “comprehensive safeguards.”
They demanded regulations prohibiting “LGBT promotion” to youngsters as well as the full enshrinement of the notion of heterosexual marriage in the constitution.
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