Fans of Archie Comics in Singapore were in for quite a shocker when they discovered that the new issue 'Archie The Married Life', featuring a gay marriage, got banned in the city-state.
"[We]... found its content to be in breach of guidelines because of its depiction of the same sex marriage of two characters in the comic," a spokesperson of the Media Development Authority (MDA) told TIME.
"We thus informed the local distributor not to import or distribute the comic in retail outlets."
According to MDA's Content Guidelines for Imported Publications, "Publications that encourage, promote or glamorise sexually permissive and alternative lifestyles and deviant sexual practices are generally not allowed."
A spokesperson from Kinokuniya Singapore, one of the largest bookstores in the city and a unit of Japan-based Kinokuniya Company, said: "We regret that 'Archie The Married Life' is deemed to breach the Content Guidelines for Imported Publications, and removed from sale by notice of MDA. We are not able to sell this title."
Singapore acts as a bridge between the east and west. It is cosmopolitan and is Asia's most developed state but in terms of social outlooks, it differs vastly from the more liberal west.
Singapore has tight rules on censorship and had banned Playboy magazine and blocked dozens of websites in what it has described as "a symbolic statement of the types of content which the community is opposed to", according to Reuters.
The marginalisation of the LGBT community has been a sensitive issue in Singapore for many years now. The city-state continues to follow the law established during the British colonial period under which gay sex is considered as a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in prison.
"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," states a Reuters report.