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Singapore continues to reject same-sex marriage

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The LGBTQ+ community has no immediate plans to file legal challenges to change the definition of marriage, but the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore said yesterday that the community should respect the Catholic Church’s rights to uphold its position on marriage, which is that a family consists of a father, mother, and children. The Catholic Church made the declaration in response to whether or not the government repeals Section 377A of the Penal Code, which makes sex between males illegal. As the majority of countries in the globe progress toward legalizing same-sex weddings, Singapore has battled with how to make its society more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. We commend and support the government’s concise explanation of its position on marriage and are reassured that it is working to protect the current legal definition of marriage, which stipulates that it must be between a man and a woman. Yesterday, the Catholic Church in Singapore issued a stern warning to the LGBTQ+ community, declaring that despite its respect for the group, it will still not accept gay marriages. Three Section 377A challenges were dismissed by a lower court in February, and the Court of Appeal upheld this result.

The legal prohibition on men having sex in Singapore has been challenged numerous times, but each time it has been rejected by the courts. When Singapore’s Supreme Judicial decided that 377A was a constitutional issue in 2014, a court challenge against it was unsuccessful. Over a decade has passed since the law was last actively enforced. Parliament should deliberate and make decisions regarding 377A, while also upholding the current legal definition that marriage is between a man and a woman, rather than the courts. The local LGBTQ+ community does not currently have any intentions to file legal challenges to change the definition of marriage, according to Leow Yangfa, executive director of the rights organization Oogachaga. “While most Singaporeans do not want the current status of marriage being between a man and a woman to alter, many Singaporeans feel that sex between men should not be a crime.” Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, minister of law and home affairs, stated that the government was thinking about the best way to strike this compromise. “It is our desire that the protections for marriage and our freedom to profess and teach what we believe without fear or favor are acknowledged and upheld.”

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