Singapore will decriminalize sex between men, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday.
"I think it's the right thing to do and it's something most Singaporeans will accept now," the official said, adding that the government will repeal section 377A of the penal code, a colonial-era law that criminalizes sex between men in the city State.
"Even if we repeal section 377A, we will maintain and safeguard the institution of marriage," Lee added. Under the law, only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized in Singapore."
It is unclear when the law will be repealed.
India removed a colonial-era ban on gay relationships in 2018, and Thailand has considered legalizing same-sex unions.
In Singapore, under section 377A, offenders can be jailed for up to two years, but the law is not currently actively enforced. Convictions for consensual sex between adult men have not been known for decades, and the law does not include sex between women or other genders.
Singapore is a multiracial and multireligious society of 5.5 million people, of which about 16% are Muslim, with large Buddhist and Christian communities. It has a predominantly Chinese population with significant Malay and Indian minorities, according to the 2020 census.