A Singapore disk jockey has filed a legal challenge against Section 377A of the city-state’s Penal Code. Johnson Ong, aka DJ Big Kid, is arguing that the law is unconstitutional.
The 43-year-old, who is in a relationship with a man, filed the challenge on Monday (September 10), according to the Straits Times.
The legal challenge comes as debate rages in Singapore over Section 377A.
More than 26,000 LGBTI rights supporters have signed an online petition to repeal the law. Meanwhile, about 90,000 people have signed a petition maintain the rights-abusing law.
Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam is representing Ong, according to the Straits Times. Both Thuraisingam and Ong were not immediately available for comment.
Singapore’s Attorney-General has been listed as the defendant and a pre-trial conference will take place on 25 September, said reports.
Section 377A back in the courts
In 2014, Singapore’s highest court ruled Section 377A was constitutional.
The Court of Appeal rejected two appeals. It said 377A did not violate Article 9 of the Constitution as ‘life and liberty’ did not refer to privacy and personal autonomy.
The judges also ruled it did not violate Article 12. This article is meant to enshrine equality in the city-state.
This week’s court filing reportedly notes international judicial developments since 2014. This includes India’s landmark decriminalization last week. Singapore’s 377A is based on the same colonial-era legislation.
‘We will be presenting medical and scientific evidence to show that sexuality is inherent and is not a choice’, lawyer Thuraisingam also said.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam on Saturday said Parliament would decide Section 377A’s fate. He explained parliament would take public into consideration, whereas the courts may not.