Singapore High Court Justice Quentin Loh today released a judgement in the Constitutional challenge of statute 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, upholding the law which criminalises sex between men and provides a jail term of up to two years.
In a 54-page judgment, Justice Loh has "found that the statute has not infringed the rights of the plaintiff, Tan Eng Hong, and is not inconsistent with Articles 9 and 12 of the Constitution of Singapore, which ensures that one will not be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law and that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law, respectively," according to a media statement issued by Tan's lawyer, M Ravi.
While Justice Loh responded to wide-ranging arguments from decisions made by foreign courts to decriminalise male to male sex to criminalising a "natural and immutable attribute" made by M Ravi, he also said of section 377A: "The purpose and object of s 377A when its very first predecessor was enacted in 1938 was to respond to a prevalence of grossly indecent acts between makes – whether in public or in private – which the Legislature deemed a regrettable state of affairs that was not desirable... The purpose and object of s 377A remains the same today."
In response to today's judgment, M Ravi, who has been working on the case for more than three years, told Fridae that his team will study the judgement before a decision is made whether to appeal the ruling.
In April this year, Justice Loh dismissed a legal challenge filed by a gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee. The two men, who have been partners for 15 years, had sought to challenge the constitutionality of section 377A of the Penal Code.