Challenge on 377A Rejected by the Supreme Court

The nation’s highest court today (Oct 29) ruled that a law that criminalises sex between men is constitutional.

The Court of Appeal found that Section 377A of the Penal Code did not infringe on the rights of 51-year-old artistic therapist and social volunteer Tan Eng Hong.

Mr Tan was arrested for engaging in oral sex with another man in a public toilet in 2010. He contested the law but had his application dismissed by the High Court in 2013.

Mr Tan’s lawyer M Ravi noted that the case had been before the courts for four years and its precedent could be “far-reaching”.

“Today’s decision has legitimised discrimination against gay men and approved the criminalisation of the conduct of their private lives by statute,” he said in a statement to the media. He called the ruling a “huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore”.

The Court of Appeal is also hearing a separate appeal to have Section 377A declared unconstitutional, from two men — Gary Lim Meng Suang and Kenneth Chee Mun-Leon — who have been in a relationship for the past 16 years. The High Court had ruled against them in 2013.


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