377A Views: Government seeks to protect current legal stance on marriage, says Shanmugam

SINGAPORE: The Singapore government is examining how it can protect the current legal situation on marriage from challenges in court, as it considers the next steps for Section 377A of the Penal Code, the Minister for Law and of Home Affairs, K Shanmugam, Saturday (July 30).

Mr Shanmugam was answering questions from the media on updates on the government’s efforts to get opinions on the law, which criminalizes sex between men.

On Section 377A, authorities have so far had “in-depth discussions” with different religious leaders, local leaders, Singaporeans from all walks of life, as well as representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups. , Mr. Shanmugam said. reporters on the sidelines of events at the Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Center.

“The general gist of the discussion is this: many agree that men who have sex with each other should not be thrown in jail. Gay sex should not be criminalized,” he said. “At the same time, most don’t want decriminalization to cause other major changes.”

In particular, most people want the current position on marriage – which is defined by law as between a man and a woman – “to be maintained”.

“People don’t want this to change and people don’t want any change in current policies that reference this definition of marriage either,” Shanmugam said.

He added that the government understands this point of view and is now considering how best to strike a balance.

“So the two questions we’re dealing with are: first, what to do with section 377A. Second, at the same time, we’re also looking at how can we protect the current legal position on marriage from being challenged in court. , so that it is not challenged like Section 377A has been in a series of cases,” the Minister added.

“These issues really should be discussed in Parliament and decided in Parliament, not decided by the courts.”

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