On Thursday, India’s Supreme Court made a landmark decision that the colonial era Section 377 law was unconstitutional. This decision thus made gay sex legal in all of India.
In reaction to this announcement, many have looked called for Singapore to challenge a similar law in their island nation. This law, Section 377A was also introduced by British colonialism in the region, and bans gay sex with the threat of two years in prison.
Immediately after news hit of India striking their Section 377 as unconstitutional, Tommy Koh, an Ambassador-at-Large at the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Singapore should do the same.
Kohn made this comments in the 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.
This was only the start of outcry for the decriminalization of gay sex in Singapore, but that has also caused major pushback.
For instance, multiple questions and calls for decriminalization led to Singaporean Law and Home Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam sharing the following statement at a press meeting:
“If you look at the issue, it is a deeply split society. The majority are opposed to any change to Section 377A. They are opposed to removing it,” he insisted.
“Can you impose viewpoints on a majority when (the issue is) so closely related to social value systems?” he asked.
He then added, “I think society has got to decide which direction it wants to go. And the laws will have to keep pace with changes in society and how society sees these issues.”
Unfortunately, there are many who agree with Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam. A petition to keep the law banning gay sex in Singapore has appeared and has reached over 75,000 signatures.
As the petition’s mission statement states:
“By repealing the section 377A penal code, it would begin to normalize homosexual behaviours 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 wants the Penal Code 377A to stay.”
It is important to note that the peitition’s creator has asked those who sign to be respectful of others and that his main goal is just to keep the staus quo.
“We simply want to have our voices heard by our government,” he said in the latest update, “We are not against anyone. (And so let's be respectful). We just want to keep the status quo.”
At it's creation, the petition hoped to receive at least 75,000 signatures to show government officials. Unfortunately, they have since reached that goal.
There's currently no news on how this petition will affect any fight for the decriminalization of gay sex in Singapore, but it's not looking good.
h/t: Channel Asia News, Pink News