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Why Singapore is Abolishing a Ban on Sex Between Men: QuickTake

Attendees at the annual "Pink Dot" event in a public show of support for the LGBT community in Singapore.

Attendees at the annual "Pink Dot" event in a public show of support for the LGBT community in Singapore.

Photographer: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

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Singapore plans to repeal a colonial-era law that criminalizes sex between men but will amend the constitution to bolster rules to prevent same-sex marriages. While the long-awaited change was welcomed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, the government looked to appease concerns from conservative and religious groups by protecting the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. Here’s where things stand:

Section 377A of the Penal Code states: “Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.” The law has not been actively enforced for over a decade, and it does not affect women who have sex with other women.