Bills to Repeal 377A, Amend Constitution to Protect Marriage Definition Filed in Parliament

Lee had said in his National Day Rally speech that attitudes towards homosexuality have changed significantly, and while Singapore remains a predominantly conservative society, gays are now more accepted, especially among younger Singaporeans.

“Most people accept that a person’s sexual orientation and behavior is a private and personal matter, and that sex between men should not be a criminal offence,” he said.

The government had consulted extensively with stakeholders before taking the decision to revoke Section 377A, the Interior Ministry (MHA) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said in a joint statement on Thursday.

“From a national perspective, private sexual behavior between consenting adults does not raise public policy issues,” the statement said.

The other reason for the repeal is that, based on a recent court ruling on Section 377A, there is a significant risk of it being quashed in a future appeal by the courts, on the grounds that it violates Section 12 of the Constitution , which guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of the law for all.

But the government has confirmed that it will maintain the current family structure in which marriage is between a man and a woman and the laws and policies based on it. The Women’s Charter states that same-sex marriage is null and void.

MHA and MSF said in their joint statement that much of Singapore’s policies are based on the current construction of heterosexual marriage, such as adoption, housing and education. However, this legal definition of marriage, and laws and policies based on it, can be challenged in the courts on constitutional grounds, just as Section 377A was.

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