Singapore to end ban on Gay Sex

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced that it would decriminalize same-sex/gay sex between men by scrapping a colonial-era law protecting the definition of marriage.

Key Points

  • Prior to this under Singapore’s Section 377A, men who have sex with men could be jailed for up to two years. LGBT activists in Singapore have hailed the move as “a win for humanity.”
  • In order to implement this decision, the Singapore government will amend its constitution to avoid any constitutional challenges and difficulties in allowing same-sex marriage in the future. However, it is not entirely clear when exactly Section 377A will be repealed.
  • Talking about the background of this recent decision, in the year 2007, the Parliament of Singapore debated whether or not to repeal Section 377A, at that time the government wanted the status of this law to be retained, but it will not be implemented. But gay men say they will continue to be discriminated against as long as this law exists. After this thousands of activists annually hold a rally in the city-state known as “Pink Dot” in support of the LGBTQ community.

What is Section 377?

Section 377 of the Indian penal code defines unnatural offences. It is rooted in the legacies of British colonial states where in it was introduced by Lord Macaulay in 1860 as a part of IPC. One of the grounds of introduction of the section was homosexuality or acts against the order of nature are condemned by the bible.

According to the section “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished”. The maximum punishment is imprisonment for life. More importantly the sectional has not made any distinction between the consensual acts and non consensual acts.

The section further explains that penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offence described in this section.

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