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Semafor LogoKarina Tsui
newsSoutheast Asia

Singapore repeals gay sex ban but blocks same-sex marriage rights

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Singapore’s lawmakers voted with an overwhelming majority to repeal a colonial-era law that bans gay sex.

But in the same session MPs also voted to amend the constitution to prevent legal challenges to the current definition of marriage — as between a man and a woman — in a blow to the movement for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

REUTERS/Feline Lim
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The vote came after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first announced the decision to repeal the law in August.

LGBTQ activists welcomed the repeal but are disappointed with the constitutional amendment that prevents them from challenging Singapore's legal definition of marriage and family.

The government defended amending the constitution, saying that it was a decision to be made by the executive and legislature, and not by the courts.

Bryan Choong, chair of LGBTQ+ advocacy group Oogachaga, told Reuters it was a historical moment for activists after years of campaigning but added that LGBTQ+ couples and families also "have the right to be recognized and protected."

There is no timeline for when the new laws will take effect.

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