56% of Singaporeans opposed to more countries following Taiwan on same-sex marriages: survey

Two gay couples in Taiwan registered their marriages in Taipei on 24 May 2019, a week after lawmakers in the island approved a bill legalising gay marriages. AFP via Getty Images file photo.

SINGAPORE — More than half of Singaporeans objected to other countries following Taiwan’s example in legalising same-sex marriages, according to an online survey.

The 887 Singaporean respondents in the survey conducted by Blackbox Research were asked, “Recently, Taiwan’s Parliament legalised gay marriage. Do you think more countries should follow Taiwan’s example?”

About 56 per cent of the respondents said “no”, while 44 per cent said “yes”, according to the survey commissioned by Yahoo News Singapore conducted from 13-26 June.

The respondents were also asked on how they feel about the statement, “Taiwan’s Parliament recently legalised gay marriage and more than 300 same-sex couples were married in the first week after the new law was passed.”

About 49 per cent of those surveyed felt positive about the statement, with 14 per cent feeling “strongly positive”, while 35 per cent feeling “somewhat positive”.

Conversely, 51 per cent responded negatively to the statement – 20 per cent felt “strongly negative” while 31 per cent were “somewhat negative”.

Blackbox Research survey on LGBTQ issues. Infographic: Blackbox Research

The respondents were also asked about how they felt about another statement, “Bhutan’s lower house of parliament decriminalised homosexuality on 7 June 2019.”

This time, a slightly bigger proportion of respondents felt positive, at 55 per cent, with 15 per cent feeling “strongly positive” while 40 per cent were “somewhat positive”.

Conversely, about 44 per cent had negative emotions on the statement – 11 per cent felt “strongly negative” and 33 per cent felt “somewhat negative”.

Homosexuality issues and same-sex marriages have been in the spotlight in Asia recently, following two historic legislative changes and a landmark court ruling.

In September last year, the Supreme Court of India ruled that consensual gay sex was not a crime in the country, following a two-decade-long legal battle.

On 17 May this year, Taiwan's parliament legalised same-sex marriage, placing the island at the vanguard of Asia's gay rights movement. The next day, dozens of same-sex couples were among the first to legally register their relationships as marriages.

On 7 June, Bhutan's lower house of parliament voted to scrap laws criminalising homosexuality, as the Asian nation takes a key step towards easing restrictions on same-sex relationships.

In Singapore, sex between men is illegal under Section 377A of the Penal Code. The government has insisted the law isn’t actively enforced, and that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community faces no discrimination in the country.

The LGBTQ community in Singapore disagrees with the view, and has actively campaigned for the repealing of the law. This year’s Pink Dot Singapore, an annual event in support of the LGBTQ community, urged its supporters to take a firm stand against discrimination.

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