When Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam recently told reporters that only a “growing minority” of Singaporeans want the highly controversial Section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code repealed, it was a little hard to believe. This is 2018 after all — surely there’s enough woke-ness going around to ensure that Singapore is ready to remove an archaic law that criminalizes gay men?
Alas, it appears that love does not win here. Since India officially abolished the same colonial-era ruling, the divisive issue about doing away with Section 377A of the Penal Code has been propelled once again into national discussion, with renewed calls for reform. As well as a renewed call to keep the 157-year-old law intact.
Here’s the score as of this article’s writing. A petition urging the government to abolish Section 377A has garnered over 25,204 signatures. Then, there’s the opposing petition demanding that the legislation — an unenforced law that prohibits any “act of gross indecency” between two male men — remain unchanged. That one has gathered over 89,000 signatures. Wew.
One explanation provided is that the Change.org platform allows people to sign it as many times as they want, and is easy enough for bots to be used.
Most of the signatories are supporting the decision to keep Section 377A on religious grounds, citing holy books and sacred texts on why they don’t want LGBTQ lifestyles to be accepted — and certainly, they’re well within their rights to express their beliefs, as much as we may disagree. But a glimpse through all the comments left behind on the petition prompts us to seriously question their line of thought (and for some, their sanity).
Seriously, go check out all the remarks posted on the petition — some are truly baffling in their leaps of logic and maturity in mindsets. Here’re just a sample of the colorful commentary; read ‘em and weep.