Selangor’s law against gay sex unconstitutional: Federal court

File photo of rainbow flags in a row. Photo: Jasmin Sessler
File photo of rainbow flags in a row. Photo: Jasmin Sessler

Malaysia’s federal court today declared that a Sharia law in the Selangor state criminalizing gay sex was inconsistent with the federal constitution and therefore void, resulting in a victory for a homosexual Muslim man who was accused of it. 

Judge Maimun Tuan Mat said this morning that such an offense would fall under Parliament’s powers to make law and not under the state legislature’s law-making powers. Under Section 28 of Selangor’s Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995, it is an offense to commit “sexual intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal,” which carries a maximum penalty of a RM5,000 (about US$1,200) fine, three years’ jail, and six strokes of the cane. 

The court’s decision, which was made unanimously by the panel of nine judges, means that the Selangor religious authorities no longer have the power to arrest anyone under this law. 

The unnamed 35-year-old was charged with attempting to commit “unnatural sex”  with eleven other men at a private property in Selangor on Nov 9, 2018. He applied to challenge the law at the federal court in May.

Malaysia’s LGBTQ community welcomed the court’s decision on social media. 

“JAIS will not have the authority to use this law to prosecute LGBTQ people. Human rights & endurance always prevail,” @Notsoaidil wrote on Twitter. 

@Fizzuljeff said: “Woke up in the morning with news for us to be hopeful in this country. #tetapbangga.”

Other stories to check out:

Malaysian doctor deletes stigmatizing COVID-19 tweets that said ‘homosexual habits cause AIDS’

KL drag queens keep it fabulous under the radar in conservative Malaysia

Out and Proud: Fearless Malaysian defies hate with fabulous images of the LGBT community

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