Singapore court rejects appeals to overturn gay sex ban law

The High Court has dismissed three separate legal challenges against Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes consensual sex between men in Singapore. This is a blow to the Singaporean LGBT community movement.

The challenges was filed separately in 2018 and 2019 by:

  • Roy Tan (LGBT rights activist and retired medical professional)

  • Johnson Ong Ming (Disc Jockey, also known as DJ Big Kid)

  • Oogachaga Bryan Choong (Former executive director of LGBT non-profit organisation)

The three gay men argued the colonial-era law was unconstitutional while the presiding judge said the law was "important in reflecting public sentiment and beliefs" in Singapore.


Under Section 377A:

Men found guilty of homosexual acts in public or private can be jailed for up to two years.

M Ravi, lawyer for one of the complainants, said "it's shocking to the conscience and it is so arbitrary,” about the ruling.


This legal challenges were the latest attempts to repeal Section 377A, since an effort by a gay couple in 2014 was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Section 377A was first introduced in 1938 by British colonial rulers, and while Singapore’s authorities rarely enforce this act, leaders including current prime minster, have refused to scrap it as they claim the law reflects on the conservative pattern of the city state’s society.

On 30th of March 2020 judgement, the court echoed that sentiment, saying non-enforcement of the law against consensual gay sex in private did not render it redundant.

The court concluded the law was constitutional because it did not violate articles regarding equality and freedom of speech.

Currently 70 countries criminalize same-sex relations


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