Legal challenge launched against Singapore’s gay sex ban

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The legal challenge is citing India’s case due to the countries sharing a similar legal framework.

LGBTQ activists have filed a legal challenge against Singapore’s ban on gay sex. Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code has the same roots as the colonial-era law which banned gay sex in India, until it was repealed last year.

Bryan Choong, an LGBTQ rights campaigner in the country has filed a legal challenge at the country’s Supreme Court, arguing that the ban violates the constitution.

Article 9 of the constitution of Singapore states “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.” Choong is also citing Article 12 which says that everyone is equal under the law and needs equal protections, and Article 14 which gives freedom of speech and expression.

The Straits Times reports that Choong has assembled a team of lawyers to fight the battle, and will be represented Senior Counsel Harpreet Singh Nehal from Cavenagh Law. There will also be a team from from the Peter Low and Choo law firm.

A spokesperson from the Attorney-General’s Chambers confirmed that the legal challenge had been filed, and they were reviewing the papers, but wouldn’t comment further.

Despite the case heading to the Supreme Court, this isn’t the first time that a case calling for the gay sex ban to end has headed there. In 2014, a case was filed, but this was rejected by the court.

A second legal challenge against the law is also being mounted by Johnson Ong Ming, better known by the stage name DJ Big Kid. Lawyers for him argue that the law is “absurd and arbitrary” and “in violation of human dignity.”

Last December, a poll found that most Singaporeans want the law to be kept, even if it’s not enforced.

The survey was commissioned by Blackbox Research, and they found that 42% of the people who responded said that they either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement: “Singapore should keep Section 377A even if it is not enforced. Do you agree?”

Only 19% of people responding said that they disagreed with the statement, with a further 40% remaining neutral on the question.

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