Immediately after news hit last week of India striking their law criminalizing gay sex as unconstitutional, Tommy Koh, an Ambassador-at-Large at the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Singapore should do the same.
Kohn made comments in response to Simon Chesterman’s, dean of the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, Facebook post about the Indian Supreme Court, according to Channel News Asia.
“I would encourage our gay community to bring a class action to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A,” wrote Koh.
Under section 377A of Singapore’s Penal Code, a man found to have committed an act of “gross indecency” with another man could be jailed for up to two years, although prosecutions are rare. The law does not apply to homosexual acts between women.
However, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong previously said that most Singaporeans would want to keep the statute and that Singapore society “is not that liberal on these matters” — which appears correct. A petition to keep Section 377A has already reached a goal of 75,000 signatures.
The petition’s mission statement states: “By repealing the section 377A penal code, it would begin to normalize homosexual behaviors as a societal norm and lead to greater push for other LGBT rights in our conservative society as we have seen played out in other western societies today. We do not think the vocal minority should impose their values and practice on the silent majority who are still largely conservative.
“Hence, if you among the silent majority, please sign this petition to support and reiterate our position to the Singapore government that we want the Penal Code 377A to stay.”
Photo | Tommy Koh