Site Overlay

s377A – do not disturb?

Will Singapore see a constitutional challenge of Section 377A in court? “We do not proactively enforce Section 377A… [but] we have decided to keep the status quo on Section 377A. It is better to accept the legal untidiness and the ambiguity. It works, do not disturb it.” – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 23 October 2007. The 2007 debate in Parliament on Section 377A, which criminalises consensual sex between adult men, ended with PM Lee’s statement that the Government will retain this law because “a heterosexual stable family is a social norm… and we do not approve of [homosexuals] actively promoting their lifestyles to others, or setting the tone for mainstream society.” Striking a conciliatory tone, he added that “homosexuals too must have a place in this society, and they too are entitled to their private lives… We do not proactively enforce Section 377A.” Yet off the radar, this law was nevertheless used to prosecute and jail two men in September 2010. In the same month, another man was charged under s377A for sex in a public toilet. When this man’s lawyer M. Ravi filed an application challenging the constitutionality of s377A, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) removed the charge, substituting…