Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook to express how he felt fofollowing the passing of two Bills in Parliament – one to repeal Section 337A of the Penal Code and another to amend Singapore’s constitution to protect the definition of marriage from legal challenges.
He said he was “happy” and that it was a “major milestone” for Singapore. “The outcome itself is significant. We are decriminalising sex between men – a longstanding issue, and not just for gay Singaporeans,” he wrote.
Over the last two days, the Parliament sessions saw more than 30 speakers, most of them supporting the two Bills.
Sentiments like it was “the right thing to do” and that gay people deserve dignity, respect, and acceptance, as well as to be protected from discrimination and bullying were echoed.
Besides 377A, the politicians also discussed the definition of marriage and most believe that the current definition – a union between a man and a woman – should be protected from constitutional challenge.
After two sessions debating the Bills on Monday and Tuesday, Parliament approved the legislation to decriminalize gay sex between men and to protect the definition of marriage from legal challenges.
PM Lee added, “This is a deeply felt and sensitive issue, and could easily have become a very divisive one. But we have not allowed it to divide us. Instead we have handled it responsibly and thoughtfully, and held everyone together. This is a major achievement.”
He went on thank everyone who worked hard “to get us here” and said that they had started community engagements long before he spoke on the issue at the National Day Rally in August.
“Thousands have taken part in countless dialogues, to give views, express concerns, and share their hopes for how our society would develop. The participants spoke openly and sincerely, and helped to shape a national consensus on the path forward,” he said.
PM Lee remains confident that the outcome will be well accepted and believes it is only one of other “difficult issues” that will come in the future.
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