“The ruling will echo harmfully around Asia, where millions are criminalised simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity”
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS, IMAGE VIA REUTERS
A constitutional challenge to the law that criminalises homosexuality has today been dismissed by Singapore’s High Court, which means that same-sex intimacy will remain a crime in the country.
It is one of few human rights cases to be brought into the conservative city state and challenged the constitutionality of Section 377A, the law that criminalises acts of “gross indecency” between men.
LGTBQI+ rights activists were challenging the law, following success in India’s supreme court to diminish similar laws and the news comes as a huge blow to those fighting for their rights in Singapore.
Téa Braun, Director of the Human Dignity Trust said: “In declining to strike out this archaic and discriminatory law, the Court has reaffirmed that all gay men in Singapore are effectively un-apprehended criminals.”
Braun added: “This decision will be extremely disappointing for the plaintiffs and the wider LGBT community in Singapore, who had great hopes that new evidence presented to the Court would make it clear that these draconian laws cannot withstand proper constitutional scrutiny.”
“The ruling will also echo harmfully around Asia, where millions of people are criminalised simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The decision would have overturned a colonial law, first introduced in 1938 under British rule, that makes same-sex sexual activity illegal between adults. The prosecutions are rare, but any man who commits any act of “gross indecency” with another man can be jailed for up to two years.
Although Section 377A only targets men and sexual activity between woman is technically legal, as has been the case throughout history, activists say that the culture of shame and homophobia it encourages casts a shadow of oppression over the wider LGBTQI+ community as a whole.
Want to find out more on how organisations are tackling anti-LGBTQI+ laws around the world? Visit amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/discrimination/lgbt-rights/
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