Singapore court upholds ban on gay sex

2014-10-29 16:37
(Punit Paranjpe, AFP)

(Punit Paranjpe, AFP)

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Singapore - Singapore's top court ruled on Wednesday that a law criminalising sex between men is constitutional.

The Court of Appeal dismissed two separate challenges to the constitutionality of the section of the Penal Code that bans gay sex.

The challenges were brought by gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee, as well as Tan Eng Hong. They argued that the legislation is discriminatory and infringes on their rights to equal protection under the law, as well as life and liberty as guaranteed by the constitution.

The law punishes those who commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men with up to two years in jail.

The judges acknowledged that there are many emotional extra-legal considerations related to the issue, but said that they could only consider legal arguments.

"While we understand the deeply-held personal feelings of the appellants, there is nothing that this court can do to assist them. Their remedy lies, if at all, in the legislative sphere", the court said in its judgement.

Gay rights advocates said they were disappointed with the verdict.

"Today's decision has legitimised discrimination against gay men and approved the criminalisation of the conduct of their private lives by statute", Channel NewsAsia reported Tan Eng Hong's lawyer M Ravi as saying.

"The ruling has once again told LGBT Singaporeans that they are second-class citizens", Jean Chong from lesbian group Sayoni told dpa.

But some advocates were still hopeful.

"Change is always not easy and it is usually a long process. Much has already changed here in Singapore and all over the world. Right now, more than half the states in the US already legalised same-sex marriage. We are some distance behind, but change will nevertheless come", wrote Miak Siew, executive pastor of the LGBT-friendly Free Community Church.

Read more on:    singapore  |  gay rights

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