Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli introduced the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment No. 3 ) Bill in Parliament on Oct. 20.
The bill proposes to introduce a new Article 156 clause, known as Institution of Marriage, into Part 13 of the Constitution on General Provisions.
New article clarifies that Parliament has the power to define and safeguard the institution of marriage
According to the bill, the new article will have four parts.
The first part of Article 156 clarifies that Parliament has powers to make laws to define, regulate, protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote the institution of marriage.
The second part of the article provides that the government and public authorities may, in the exercise of their functions, uphold the institution of marriage.
Examples of upholding marriage include public housing polices and financial benefits for married couples, as well as education and media policies that promote and safeguard the institution of marriage.
As for the third part of the article, it protects laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, from being invalidated under Part 4 of the Constitution (Fundamental Liberties).
The third and fourth parts of the article also similarly protect laws and policies based on a heterosexual definition of marriage from being invalidated by Part 4 of the Constitution.
For example, the equal protection clause in Article 12 of the Constitution would not invalidate such laws and policies by reason that they are based on a heterosexual definition of marriage.
According to both the Ministry of Home Affairs and MSF, the bill does not codify or enshrine the definition of marriage (i.e. as between a man and a woman) into the Constitution.
The bill will be debated in Parliament at a future sitting on Nov. 28.
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