Singapore’s parliament on Tuesday revoked a law that criminalized sex between men. Unfortunately, at the same time, he amended the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.
“Section 377A” of the Singapore Penal Code, deemed to discriminate and stigmatize the LGBTQ+ community, dated back to the era of British colonization. The law, which provided for a maximum sentence of two years in prison, was no longer applied in the city state anyway.
A visible and active LGBT community in Singapore
Parliament’s decision is the culmination of a long legal battle. One of the plaintiffs who challenged the law in court hailed “the birth of a new chapter” in the history of Singapore’s LGBT community. ” We can [enfin] progressively dismantle all barriers to visibility and progress for queer citizens,” he said.
Singapore is a major commercial and financial hub with state-of-the-art architecture, but retaining conservative social standards. However, it has a visible LBGTQ+ community, which regularly mobilizes, including “Pink Dot” rallies to defend its rights.
No marriage for all
On the same day, however, Parliament amended the local Constitution by specifying that a marriage could only be the union of a man and a woman. Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong welcomed this dual development. Months of “countless” public meetings were needed to arrive at this “national consensus”, he said.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Affairs, which proposed the amendment to the Constitution against marriage for all, the traditional definition of the family must remain the bedrock of society. “There are no plans to change this definition to include same-sex marriages,” Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Tuesday.
He clarified that, from now on, any celebration of a union between people of the same sex “was against the law”. It remains possible that Parliament will change the definition of marriage in the future, he however agreed.