COURT OF APPEAL RULES THAT SECTION 377A THAT CRIMINALISES SEX BETWEEN MEN IS CONSTITUTIONAL

BY SELINA LUM COURTS CORRESPONDENT, Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s Court of Appeal has ruled that Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises sex between men, is constitutional.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the provision, rejecting two separate challenges to strike down the law.

Gay couple Gary Lim, 46, and Kenneth Chee, 38, as well as 51-year-old Tan Eng Hong, contend that the provision is inherently discriminatory and should be declared void by the court.

Their argument is that Section 377A infringes their rights to equality under Article 12 of the Constitution and violates their rights to life and personal liberty under Article 9.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers, however, asserts that the provision does not breach the Constitution.

The offence carries up to a two-year jail term for men who, in public or private, commit acts of “gross indecency” with other men.

Mr Tan was the first to file a challenge against the statute in 2010 after he was charged with having oral sex with another man in a public toilet. Mr Lim and Mr Chee later filed their own challenge.

Their cases were separately heard – and dismissed – by High Court Judge Quentin Loh last year.

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