Singapore has stated that it will decriminalize sex between men by repealing a colonial-era law.
Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, which bans sex between consenting male adults, was introduced under British colonial rule in 1938. The rule still exists in other former colonies across Asia, including Malaysia, Brunei, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
India’s Supreme Court threw out the law in 2018.
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during a National Day speech that he believed repealing Section 377A was the right thing to do as social acceptance of the LGBTQ community has grown, according to the Straits Times.
“This will bring the law into line with current social models, and I hope, provide some relief to gay Singaporeans,” said Lee.
He also said, however, that the government would amend the Constitution to ensure that same-sex marriage could not be allowed.
“Even as we repeal Section 377A, we will uphold and safeguard the institution of marriage,” Lee said.
The anticipated legalizing of sex between men was deemed “far overdue” in a statement by more than 20 LGBTQ groups in Singapore.
Such groups continue to lobby for further legislation to be introduced that would allow same-sex marriage.