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Singapore legalizes sex between men - in Japan marriage is not for everyone

2022-11-30T11:40:30.086Z

Sexual intercourse between men is no longer punished in Singapore, but marriage is reserved for men and women in both the city-state and Japan.



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Demonstration in front of the court in Tokyo: Eight million yen in compensation demanded

Photo: KAZUHIRO NOGI / AFP

Sexual intercourse between men is no longer a criminal offense in Singapore.

This was decided by the parliament of the Asian city-state on Tuesday, repealing a law dating back to British colonial times.

Members of the LGBTQ community told AFP news agency they were happy with the decision.

"The air I breathe definitely feels a lot lighter," said Singaporean Benjamin Xue.

Doctor Roy Tan said the law's repeal marked the "birth of a new chapter" in the history of Singapore's LGBTQ community.

The English abbreviation LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

Paragraph 377A, which dates back to the colonial era, had provided for a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment for homosexual practices.

It hasn't been used for years, but activists have long criticized it for going against the increasingly modern way of life in the Southeast Asian city-state.

The law made no mention of women or gender diversity.

Marriage only between man and woman

Singapore's parliament also passed a constitutional amendment on Tuesday clarifying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

The traditional definition of family is the foundation of society, said Social and Family Affairs Minister Masagos Zulkifli, according to AFP.

There are no plans to change this definition to include same-sex marriages.

However, if societal attitudes change, it is possible that Parliament could change the definition of marriage.

Singapore's decision follows other Asian countries that have recently taken steps to address discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

In 2018, India's Supreme Court overturned a colonial-era ban on same-sex sex.

Thailand is also approaching legalization.

In Japan, however, plaintiffs again failed in their claim in court.

"state of unconstitutionality"

The Tokyo District Court ruled on Wednesday that the state's refusal to legally recognize same-sex marriages was not unconstitutional.

The court rejected the claim of the eight plaintiffs for one million yen (around 6,900 euros) per person in compensation for the emotional pain caused by the government's refusal.

At the same time, however, it pointed out in its judgment that the lack of a legal system that enables homosexuals to start a family constitutes a "state of unconstitutionality".

It is "a serious threat and an obstacle" to humanity, as reported by the Kyodo news agency.

A district court in the northern city of Sapporo was the first to rule in 2021 that the state's refusal violated the constitutional right to equal treatment.

Lawyers spoke of a big step towards equality in marriage.

But in June 2022, another court in Osaka came to the opposite conclusion.

The court in Tokyo now followed this verdict.

In Japan, the issue of the LGBTQ community is slowly gaining public awareness, although many are hiding their sexual orientation or gender identity for fear of discrimination.

However, some communities now recognize registered partnerships.

They are not legally binding.

However, they should help to avoid discrimination, for example when visiting a partner in hospital or when looking for an apartment.

swe/afp

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-11-30

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