Following India’s court decision to repeal a British colonial anti-gay law last week, the Singaporean government has decided not to follow suit. Under Singapore’s law, sex between homosexuals is punishable by two years in jail.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam pledged however that despite keeping the restriction on the statute books, the law will not be enforced.

“We sometimes in these things have to accept a bit of messiness,” he told state-owned New Paper. “The way the society is going, we don’t think it’s fair for us to prosecute people who say that they are homosexual.”

Shanmugam believes that most Singaporeans still do not accept homosexuality which would make it difficult to repeal the law. The conservative country only legalised oral and anal sex between heterosexual couples in 2007.

Singapore acquired a legal system modelled around Britain’s in the early 20th century, as did most of Britain’s colonies – including India. In order to appear ‘civilised’ many Asians disregarded their longstanding cultural tolerance of sexual minorities, and tabooed homosexuality.

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