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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
Singapore retains its gay sex ban
File pic of Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong
PM Lee said he wanted Singapore to remain conservative
Singapore's parliament has voted against a proposal to decriminalise sex between men, despite receiving a petition signed by thousands of people.

The plan was part of a wider reform of sex laws, many dating from the British colonial era half a century ago.

The chamber passed a bill legalising oral and anal sex for the first time, but only between heterosexuals.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the government did not consider gays to be a minority with minority rights.

In a rare speech to parliament, he said Singapore was a conservative society, and he wanted to keep it so.

Tuesday's vote means Singapore's anti-gay law 377A remains, although prosecutions are rare.

Under the legislation, a man caught committing an act of "gross indecency" with another man could be jailed for up to two years.

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