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Singapore’s Top Court Upholds Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

Team SoOLEGAL 13 Apr 2020 2:05pm

Singapore’s Top Court Upholds Law Criminalizing Gay Sex

SINGAPORE: On Monday, Singapore's high court upheld a rarely used law criminalizing sex between men, denying three appeals that argued it was unconstitutional.

The decision follows challenges to the colonial-era rule by activists emboldened after a similar law was struck down by India's Supreme Court in 2018. Previous efforts to repeal in2014 in socially conservative Singapore also failed.

"The High Court dismisses all three appeals," Judge See KeeOon said in a court-published summary of the case.

"Legislation remains important in reflecting public sentiment and belief”, the summary said, adding that failure to enforce the legislation against consensual male homosexual activity in private did not make it redundant.

Bryan Choong, one of the three people questioning the rule, said he was surprised by the decision. "But my eyes on the road ahead are solid," he said.

Previously, Prime Minister Lee HsienLoong said “Singapore societyis not that liberal on these issues."

Nevertheless, a prominent Singapore diplomat, after the Indian decision, urged challenges to the law of the city-state, while Law Minister K. Shanmugam said that a "growing minority" wanted it to be repealed and that laws should keep pace with societal change.

Singapore reports have also indicated changing attitudes towards gays, and a perceived tone softening from some leaders in the government.

In Monday's cases, the plaintiffs had argued that Section 377A, which allows for up to two years' imprisonment for a man found to have committed an act of "gross indecency" with another man, was unlawful. The legislation does not apply to lesbians.



Tagged: Singapore   High Court   Supreme Court   Legislation   Lee HsienLoong   Law Minister   Section 377A   Law Criminalizing Gay Sex  
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