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Court decision on Section 377A a missed opportunity: LGBT groups

SINGAPORE — The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here has expressed disappointment at the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the law criminalising sex between men.

Court decision on Section 377A a missed opportunity: LGBT groups

Thousands gather each year at the Speaker's corner for Pink Dot. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community here has expressed disappointment at the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the law criminalising sex between men.

Fourteen advocacy groups — including Pink Dot, Oogachaga and Sayoni — said in a joint statement issued today (Oct 30) that the apex court’s rejection of the constitutional challenges against Section 377A was a missed opportunity to showcase Singapore as an accepting, open and inclusive society.

Acknowledging the court’s position — that it cannot provide a judicial remedy to what is viewed as a legislative issue — they also called on Parliament to “demonstrate true leadership and do the right thing by nullifying this crippling piece of legislation”.

The statute, they said, reinforces discrimination and prejudice, which leads to media censorship and stereotyping, and affects the “wellbeing of a significant segment of society”.

They also disagreed with the court’s position that the challenge was “insistence by a particular group or individual that its/his values be imposed on other groups or individuals”. “It is not an imposition for a segment to seek the same rights as the rest of society,” they said, adding: “We cannot accept its narrow interpretation of the constitution.”

“To be viewed as equal in the eyes of the law, to feel safe at home, and to be protected against discrimination, mistreatment, even physical and emotional harm, is a right to which every Singaporean should be entitled, and not denied on the basis of whom they love,” they added.

However, they acknowledged the Court’s position that it cannot provide a judicial remedy to what is viewed as a legislative issue and efforts made to hear the cases.

“We recognise that the journey toward building Singapore into a society that truly understands, accepts and appreciates the value of diversity and inclusivity is still in its early days — this is by no means the end of the road to equality for the LGTBT community,” they said.

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