Challenges to gay sex law fail; Singapore LGBT community ‘gutted’

People gather at 2018’s ‘Pink Dot’ LGBT pride rally in Singapore. Photo: Pink Dot/Facebook
People gather at 2018’s ‘Pink Dot’ LGBT pride rally in Singapore. Photo: Pink Dot/Facebook

Members of Singapore’s LGBT community reacted with dismay today to word that gay sex remains a criminal offense after the high court dismissed three challenges to the antiquated law.

The court’s reported ruling comes four months after the court heard arguments from attorneys representing three men: DJ Johnson Ong; a retired doctor named Roy Tan; and Bryan Choong, the former chief of an LGBT nonprofit.

“Sorry guys, but we press on. Keep the Faith,” Ong wrote on Facebook today. 

The court’s full grounds for dismissing the challenges, which were filed in 2018 and 2019, will be released at a later date, CNA reported. 

Among arguments posed by the trio’s lawyers was that the 1938 law was intended to crack down on “rampant male prostitution” at the time.

The report also said that the lawyers submitted to the court scientific evidence that because homosexuals are unable to change their orientation, the law was discriminatory.

“We are gutted,” the organizers of pride rally Pink Dot wrote online today.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers, or AGC, has continued to support the law, telling CNA that it still served a “legitimate and reasonable” national interest. The chambers also noted that the divisive issue would be better debated and decided in parliament.

The law, codified as Section 377A of the Penal Code, has existed since British colonial rule and states that any man who commits what it describes as an “act of gross indecency” with another man in public or in private faces up to two years in prison. 

“The 3 constitutional challenges against 377A were dismissed, but we will keep trying. #tryagain” read a post published to a Facebook page representing an online movement petitioning for the repeal of the law.


Other stories you should see:

‘Pink Dot’ pride rally canceled in Singapore for first time in 12 years
‘We’re not like San Francisco’: Singapore PM Lee on Pink Dot, LGBT rights

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