Both sides of the political spectrum have criticized the news; while some members of the LGBT community feel let down, conservative segments of society believe the amendment is insufficient.
Recent polls have shown that there is substantial resistance to homosexual marriage—one research finding that over half of Singaporeans believe it to be “wrong”—but that opposition is also waning.
That mindset shift is still important, particularly for older LGBT people who saw Sunday’s declaration as a melancholy occasion.
It was something to be treasured for them.
LGBT rights were still an untouchable subject in strictly regulated Singapore only a few decades ago. Police would raid secret gay bars and events, and even today, programs and films that are seen to be “promot[ing] homosexuality” may be restricted.
“It’s a really emotional time. I’m hoping this is the start of a trip. For a long time, we have not felt particularly protected “says Jeremy Gopalan, a 44-year-old content manager.
However, for other people, Sunday’s declaration was only a hollow win. According to them, progress for LGBT rights would eventually be hampered by the marriage amendment to the Constitution.
Many of Singapore’s rules favor the traditional family structure, hence some people still see gay marriage as a major aim.
Public housing, where the majority of Singaporeans reside, is one example. The government offers individuals the opportunity to purchase brand-new apartments at steep discounts, but only if they are married, or unmarried and over 35.
Same-sex couples are excluded from this choice and will continue to face disadvantages in all facets of Singaporean society without legal acknowledgement of their union.
Moniza Hossain, a Singaporean novelist, stated that the repeal of 377A should have been a joyful moment of emancipation instead of only a first step toward the legalization of discrimination against sexual minorities.
However, the decision has not placated conservative factions.
According to Protect Singapore, a nonprofit that advocates for the upkeep of traditional values, “complete protections” are still lacking.
They have demanded that marriage be codified in the constitution as just a heterosexual partnership because they believe the amendment will fall short.
According to Terence Chong, a sociologist from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, “They worry the repeal may lead to a domino effect, so they are placing a flag in the ground right now to make sure those dominoes don’t fall farther.”
“Even if the constitution had this conventional concept, I don’t believe people would be totally satisfied. There is opposition because they believe that this repeal cedes territory to the LGBT community.”
LGBT organizations have previously begged the government to reject the conservatives’ request. They expressed concern that it would merely “codify more discrimination into supreme law” in a united statement.
A senior official denied the proposal on Monday night, claiming it was “not their desire” to include the definition of marriage in the constitution.
However, neither side has won the war yet.
The repeal of 377A, according to LGBT campaigners, is “the first step on a path to complete equality,” and they will now concentrate on combating discrimination in the job, at home, in schools, and in the housing and healthcare industries.
Meanwhile, opponents have pledged to keep setting up large town halls and have encouraged supporters to approach MPs.
All of this may portend more intense warfare in the future. The temperature will increase in the coming months as Singapore gets ready to implement both the repeal and constitutional revision, according to former nominated MP Siew Kum Hong.
For instance, according to Mr. Siew, who previously spoke in favor of the repeal of 377A in parliament, “you may see things that border on hate speech that could make life harder for LGBT people, a more severe homophobia from a smaller segment of the public.”
Singapore may have believed that by legalizing homosexuality, it might end what many consider to be a degrading period in its past.
But instead of addressing the prejudice against LGBT people, the nation has only ushered in a new age of conflict.