Repeal of Section 377A: Doing the right thing for all while managing pace of social change

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Constitutional law expert, Mr Eugene Tan, and Associate Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University, explains how marriage may be constitutionally protected.

SINGAPORE - At Sunday's National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sought to forge a new consensus to "reconcile and accommodate" society's social mores and the LGBT+ community's aspiration to be respected and accepted. While affirming that repealing Section 377A was "the right thing to do", he emphasised that such a move was not intended to unleash a drastic shift in societal norms.

Parliament will repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code (S377A), which criminalises consensual sex acts in private between two adult men. The Constitution will be amended to "uphold and safeguard" the institution of marriage and measures taken to maintain the family-oriented approach and the prevailing societal norms and values. The proposed amendments will also seek to protect the current legal definition of marriage - a monogamous union of a man and a woman - from being successfully challenged in the courts.

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