Singapore decriminalises sex between men while halting legalisation of same-sex marriage

Singapore has decriminalised sex between men while simultaneously halting the legislation of same-sex marriage. The country’s parliament gave homosexual men a legal way to mingle in what seems to be a step forward for the country. But, the LGBTQ+ community was dealt a shocking blow as the country also amended the constitution to prevent court challenges that could lead to legalising same-sex marriage.

Other countries have moved forward with recognising more rights for the LGBTQ+ community, including Thailand, India, and Taiwan. According to Reuters, activists cheered the decriminalisation of sex between men but were also disappointed at the constitutional amendment. Critics say the amendment would stop the ability to mount legal challenges to issues such as the definition of family and marriage.

But, the government says the courts shouldn’t make such decisions on those issues. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam have ruled out any changes to the current legal definition of marriage. Currently, its definition only includes a union between a man and a woman.

“We will try and maintain a balance…to uphold a stable society with traditional, heterosexual family values, but with space for homosexuals to live their lives and contribute to society.”

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The repeal and amendment were passed with an overwhelming majority as LGBTQ+ advocacy group Oogachaga says it was a historical moment for activists. Attitudes toward LGBTQ+ issues have shifted in recent years, with many youths adopting a more liberal mindset. About 42% of those aged between 18-25 responded that they accepted same-sex marriage in a 2018 survey. That percentage climbed by 17% over the past five years according to the Institute of Police Studies.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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