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Prime Minister wants to change gay laws in Singapore but won't

Singapore's Prime Minister has said changing laws which criminalise gay sex won't change the issues that LGBTI people will still face

Prime Minister wants to change gay laws in Singapore but won't
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore’s Prime Minister will wait until society changes its views before changing laws banning gay sex.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was recently pressed on his personal views regarding 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code.

The code outlaws any acts of ‘gross indecency’ between two men. Those convicted could face up to two years in jail.

Singapore’s long wait

In 2013, Lee said the law should remain because even in countries that had decriminalized homosexuality, the LGBTI community still faced a lot of issues.

‘These are not issues that we can settle one way or the other, and it’s really best for us to just leave them be, and just agree to disagree,’ he said at a conference, which was when he last publicly spoke about the issue.

On BBC HARDtalk journalist Stephen Sackur asked Lee about his position on 377A in an interview that went to air today.

‘If any of your children or grandchildren were gay, would that change your perspective? Would you then think that it was unacceptable for consenting adults to be criminalised for in this way?’ Sackur asked.

I think that it is a law which is there — if I remove it, I will not remove the problem because if you look at what has happened in the West, and in Britain, you decriminalised it in the 1960s, your attitudes have changed a long way but even now gay marriage is contentious,’ Lee said.

‘In America it is very contentious. Even in France, in Paris, they have had demonstrations in the streets against gay marriage.’

Sackur went on to ask Lee what his personal view was of the issue and whether he would like to get rid of 377A.

‘My personal view is that if I don’t have a problem — this is an uneasy compromise — I’m prepared to live with it until social attitudes change,’ Lee said.


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