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Singapore’s parliament has passed a vote to decriminalise sex between men, but refused to change its archaic definition of marriage.  

After more than a decade of campaigning, activists have praised the repeal of Section 377A of Singapore’s penal code. 

The law was passed thanks to a majority from People’s Action Party’s on Tuesday (29 November). 

But alongside this improvement a constitutional amendment which prevents citizens mounting legal challenges to equal marriage was also passed. 

Currently, marriage is defined in Singapore as a union between a man and woman, with many of its policies being based on this definition, including adoption, housing and education. 

Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and his successor Lawrence Wong have ruled out any changes to the current legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, Reuters have reported. 

Home affairs minister K Shanmugam said in parliament this week: “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.”

The timeline for when the laws will take effect is not yet known. 

It is hoped the recent changes will lead to parliament expanding the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships in the future. 

Chair of LGBTQ+ advocacy group Oogachaga, Bryan Choong, said decriminalising sex between men was a historical moment for activists who have campaigned for a repeal of the law for 15 years. 

But, he said, LGBTQ+ couples and families also “have the right to be recognised and protected”. 

In August this year Loong announced that Singapore would no longer criminalise sex between men. 

At the time, Loong pointed out that the repeal of 377A was last debated in 2007, at which point the government “stopped short of repealing the law”, and instead decided to “not actively enforce it”.

“It would have been too divisive to force the issue then,” he said.

He added: “Now, 15 years later, attitudes have shifted appreciably. While we remain a broadly conservative society, gay people are now better accepted in Singapore, especially among younger Singaporeans.”

The post Singapore finally repeals gay sex ban but refuses to legalise same-sex marriage appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.

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