Archie comic featuring same-sex marriage banned in Singapore

The ban follows a similar ruling against a children's book featuring two male penguins raise a baby

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The Independent Online

Authorities in Singapore have banned a volume of the US Archie comic book, because it depicts a same-sex marriage.

After a complaint was filed to Singapore's Media Development Authority, the book entitled Archie: The Married Life Book Three, was removed from book stores.

The issue that was released in the United States on Wednesday shows the red-headed teen dying as he takes a bullet protecting a gay friend.

The office decided that the comic was not in line with social norms in the conservative nation, and breached their content guidelines.

The ruling, which was imposed earlier this year but emerged on Wednesday, follows a similar row which erupted over a children’s story about two male penguins hatching an egg.

Last week, Singapore's National Library Board said it planned to destroy three children's books seen as being pro-homosexual, including penguin story And Tango Makes Three.

Archie takes a bullet protecting his gay friend in the issue that comes out on 16 July, 2014.

But the move prompted a 400-strong ‘read-in’ protest in the national library’s atrium on Sunday, followed by the book’s three authors resigning as judges from Singapore's main literature prize in protest against the move.

Singapore has tight rules on censorship, banning Playboy magazine and blocking dozens of websites in what it has described as “a symbolic statement of the types of content which the community is opposed to”.

However, whether homosexual content falls into that category is a thorny issue. A growing groundswell of support for gay rights is being met with noisy protests from religious groups, keen to maintain the status quo of sex between two men being illegal.

Archie Andrews, the redheaded American teenager in the "Archie" comic book series

Last month, a record crowd turned out for a LGBT-rights rally called “Pink Dot” while several Christian and Muslim groups dressed in white held a counter-protest.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim has said he supports the library's stand, although unusually not all members of the governing People's Action Party (PAP) share that view.

“I do not believe homosexuality falls in the category of issues which should be excluded,” said Hri Kumar Nair, a PAP member of Parliament in a Facebook post titled Pulp Friction.

“But I think most neutrals would agree that children should read books with controversial themes supervised,” he added.