31 October 2014

Singapore Court of Appeal Refuses to Strike Down Anti-Gay Sex Law

 Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee 
lost the battle but may have won the war

Following the baffling decision of the Indian Supreme Court, the Singapore Court of Appeals ruled that it is up to the legislature and not the courts to repeal the section of the Penal Code that bars same-sex sexual acts. The court also questioned whether legislation adopted during Singapore's colonial period is entitled to the same level of constitutional deference as laws adopted by the national legislature.

This is obviously a disappointment. A ruling that the law violated the due process or equal protection clauses in the Singapore constitution would have had the effect of banning all public forms of discrimination against LGBT people. As it happens, the public prosecutors office has indicated that it will not enforce the section. But the reactionary elements of Singapore society also do not want the provision removed, precisely to subordinate LGBT people in society as shadow criminals.

The Pink Dot movement has continued to grow every year since it started in 2009 and that is the most promising. If China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC) or Vietnam adopt some legal framework for same-sex couples in the near future, it will be all but certain that Singapore will follow. But Singapore activists don't have to wait and neither does Singapore.

The full ruling can be read here.

1 comment:

  1. Been semi following the news on this. Rather disappointing that something like this can happen in 2014.