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Singapore Repeals Gay Sex Ban, But Dampens Marriage Equality Hopes

Singapore's Pink Festival
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Any decisions about marriage, at least for the time being, will be left to the country's executives and legislature

Singapore repealed a law that banned gay sex on Tuesday. However, the country's parliament also took a jab at LGBTQ+ rights by amending the constitution that would prevent certain court challenges to the country's ban on same-sex marriage.

LGBTQ+ activists were heartened by the repeal of the gay sex, according to Reuters.

But the amendment also passed blocks legal action against certain definitions like that of marriage, family, etc. Those policies, the news wire reports, will now be left to the executive and legislative branches of its government.

Both the repeal of the gay sex law and the constitutional amendment were passed by wide margins, mainly because the country's ruling party has a large majority in parliament.

Changes to the definition of marriage can still be changed via parliament. The current government is unlikely to change it though.

The two pieces of legislation did not indicate when the new laws would go into effect.

Bryan Choong, who chairs the LGBTQ+ rights group Oogachaga, told Reuters that it was still an achievement to repeal the ban on gay sex. Choong continued that queer couples and families also "have the right to be recognized and protected".

Singapore's 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 city-state's attitudes toward LGBTQ+ subjects have become more progressive. Reuters cited a 2018 survey by the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore that found those aged 18-25 are 42 percent likely to accept same-sex marriage in 2018 compared to just 17 percent a year before.

Singapore's latest moves show that the trend toward recognizing more rights for the LGBTQ+ communities in Asia is growing with Taiwan, Thailand, and India recently passing laws favorable to their queer populations.

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