A long-serving LGBTI activist in Singapore has filed a lawsuit against the Attorney-General over the city’s state anti-gay laws.
Brian Choong wants Singapore to repeal Section 377 A of the Penal Code, a colonial era law which criminalizes homosexual sex.
Choong filed the suit at the Supreme Court in November last year against AG Lucien Wong.
Choong argued in the suit that Section 377A of the Penal Code which bans gay sex violates Articles 9, 12 and 14 of Singapore’s constitution. Those articles cover the right to personal liberty, that all citizens are equal before the law and the right to assemble peacefully and to form associations.
Those articles in the Constitution therefore make Section 377A ‘void’ and ‘inconsistent’.
A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) said it had received the case brief.
‘We are unable to comment further as the matter is now before the courts,’ the spokesperson told the Straits Times.
The debate around decriminalizing homosexuality gained traction again in 2018 after India’s Supreme Court overturned Section 377 of its Penal Code.
But support for the anti-gay law remains in place among Singaporeans. A survey in November revealed that the majority of people in Singapore want to keep 377A, even if it’s not enforced.
Singapore is a socially conservative city-island state in South-east Asia. It has a population of about 5.6 million people. During the debate around 377A, both Christian and Islamic organizations expressed support for the anti-gay law.
More recently, the Singapore government promised to toughen its adoption laws. It made the announcement after a court granted a gay man in a same-sex relationship permission to adopt his son born via a surrogate.