The Singaporean government has said its decision to keep the conservative city’s anti-gay law was a ‘carefully considered and finely balanced decision.’
In a 23-page report submitted to the UN in October and released on Friday (11 December), Singapore said it took a ‘practical, not an ideological, approach to the realization of human rights,’ adding that segments of society ‘continue to hold strong views against homosexuality for various reasons, including religious convictions and moral values.’
Section 377A of the penal code criminalizes consensual sex between men, for which the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment.
However, the report emphasized that the colonial-era law is not proactively enforced.
‘All Singapore citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation are free to lead their lives and pursue their activities in their private space without fear of violence or personal insecurity,’ it stated.
‘The government does not discriminate against persons seeking a job in the civil service on the basis of their sexual orientation.’
Even so, there are no laws protecting LGBTI people from discrimination in employment, provision of goods of services or in any other areas.
Equally, gay couples receive no recognition from the state.
In 2013, two constitution challenges were brought against Section 377A, but the Court of Appeal upheld the law in both cases.