Singaporeans are divided on the issue of legalizing same-sex civil partnership, a new poll has found.
One-third of Singaporeans support changing the law while 43% oppose it, according to a YouGov poll.
Gay sex is illegal in culturally-conservative Singapore. Section 377A of the colonial-era Penal Code punishes gay sex with up two years in prison.
While it is rarely enforced, recent surveys found the majority of Singaporeans backed the legislation.
Calls to repeal the rights-abusing law last year met with a conservative backlash.
Currently, no country in Asia recognizes same-sex unions. Taiwan is set to legalize same-sex partnerships in some form before 24 May.
Thailand, meanwhile, introduced a civil partnership bill to parliament late last year. A number of local administrations in Japan offer limited recognition of same-sex partnerships with ‘certificates’.
‘While there is talk of Thailand potentially preparing to recognise same-sex civil partnerships, this data shows that Singaporeans are clearly split on this issue’ said Jack Gammon, head of YouGov Omnibus in APAC.
‘Our research finds that divisions come along education and age lines’ he said. Younger and more educated people were found to be more likely to support recognizing same-sex couples.
The survey found 50 percent of people aged 18 to 34 supported civil partnerships. What’s more, 20 percent preferred not to say.
Meanwhile, 41% of university degree holders agree with changing the law, compared to 26% of those without a degree.
Religion emerged as a big factor affecting support for partnerships. Of those who considered themselves ‘very much’ religious, only 17% supported civil partnerships.
But, 51% of people who considered themselves ’not at all’ religious said they’d back a bill.