Singapore court upholds anti-gay sex law

Singapore continues to insist that consensual gay sex is criminal, with the High Court dismissing a legal challenge to Section 377A of the penal code, which provides up to two years of prison. Justice Quentin Loh ruled that “377A essentially addresses a social and public morality concern which our Legislature identified in 1938 and subsequently affirmed in 2007.”

Imagining Gay Paradise explains the history of both the original Section 377 from British colonial law, which criminalized actual sodomy (anal or oral intercourse) and Section 377A, which was added in 1938 as a response to the rise of the Nazi concept of manhood — which was to prompt a witchhunt of gay men in the neighboring Dutch East Indies. Section 377A applied to any sort of “gross indecency” that two men might commit with one another, such as hugging, kissing, dancing together — all those expressions of affections that straight privilege affords to heterosexual couples.

As I note in the book (p 166), “What was a ‘gross indecency’ was left vague. The courts termed it as whatever a “right thinking person” might consider a “gross indecency”…. Section 377A was [is] a law based on what others considered offensive, not what kind of behavior might actually harm others.”

For a complete report from on the ruling, click here.