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Singapore court rejects appeal of anti-gay law

Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee. (Click image to see video about them and their legal challenge of Singapore's anti-gay law)
Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee. (Click image to see video from 2013 about them and their legal challenge against Singapore’s anti-gay law)

Channel NewsAsia reports:

SINGAPORE — The nation’s highest court on Wednesday Oct 29 ruled that a law that criminalises sex between men is constitutional.

The ruling covers both cases contesting the law, one brought by two graphic designers who have been in a relationship for 16 years, and the other by an artistic therapist who had been arrested for a sexual act committed in a toilet. …

The judges found that Section 377A of the Penal Code [which provides for up to two years in prison for physical intimacy between men] did not infringe on the rights of Lim Meng Suang and Kenneth Chee Mun-Leon [Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee], who in 2012 argued that the statute was inconsistent with Article 12 of the Constitution, or 51-year-old artistic therapist and social volunteer Tan Eng Hong, who had been arrested for engaging in oral sex with another man in a public toilet in 2010. …

“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 of Appeal said in its judgment.

Human rights lawyer M Ravi, representing Tan, said, “Today’s decision has legitimised discrimination against gay men and approved the criminalisation of the conduct of their private lives by statute.” It is “huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore,” he added.

Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, said, “Singapore likes to advertise itself as a modern Asian country and business destination, but this discriminatory anti-LGBT law is wholly out of step with international rights standards that guarantee protections, including for sexual orientation and gender identity.”

 

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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