Section 377A: Repeal was respectful but is talking about sexual orientation still taboo?

The gay community is no longer an invisible, criminalised sub-group but a legitimate minority group deserving of dignity and a voice.

The two Bills together provided a uniquely Singapore solution to extending gay rights, while preserving traditional family values. PHOTO: ST FILE
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

It was 6.17pm by my clock when Parliament approved two significant Bills that would repeal a law criminalising gay sex, and at the same time shield male-female marriage from legal challenges by making Parliament, not the courts, the arbiter of such matters.

I was watching the live streaming of the historic session from home – through the entire tedious vote process of the ringing of the division bell, to the counting of the vote for the second reading, and then the whole process repeated for the third reading. When the Speaker announced the tally of the final vote to amend the Penal Code to repeal Section 377A – 93 for, three against – I could not help the wide grin that spread across my face, and a lightening of the heart.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.