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Singapore announces plans to decriminalize gay sex

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Singapore announced Sunday it will decriminalize sex between men by repealing a colonial-era law while protecting the city-state’s definition of marriage.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during his speech at the annual National Day Rally he believes repealing Section 377A is the “right thing to do now” as most Singaporeans will now accept it.

“This will bring the law into line with current social models and I hope provide some relief to gay Singaporeans,” Loong said.

He said the government will also amend the Constitution to ensure that there can be no constitutional challenge to allowing same-sex marriage.

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SINGAPORE - MARCH 08: General view of part of the public roads to be used during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on March 8, 2008 in Singapore. The first night race under floodlights will be held on a waterfront street circuit in Singapore on September 28, 2008. 

SINGAPORE – MARCH 08: General view of part of the public roads to be used during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on March 8, 2008 in Singapore. The first night race under floodlights will be held on a waterfront street circuit in Singapore on September 28, 2008. 
(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“Even as we repeal Section 377A, we will uphold and safeguard the institution of marriage,” Lee said. “We have to amend the Constitution to protect it. And we will do so. This will help us repeal Section 377A in a controlled and careful way.”

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“Singapore inherited 377A from the British and chose to retain it after independence in 1965,” The BBC reports. The broadcaster says Singapore is not the only former colony with a version of 377, as the law continues to exist in many parts of Asia, Africa and Oceania.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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