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Singapore sodomy law challenge gets new star legal team

Singapore sodomy law challenge gets new star legal team

A Singapore gay couple who are campaigning to end Singapore’s ban on gay sex have announced a new star legal team for the next step in their legal challenge.

Senior Counsel Deborah Barker has been appointed to represent Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee in their appeal of a Singapore High Court judgement in which Justice Quentin Loh dismissed their constitutional challenge to a colonial era law that criminalizes physical relationships between two men.

Lim and Chee have been in a relationship for 15 years and are pushing for the Section 377A law to be struck down, though the Singapore Government has said the law will no longer be enforced.

Deborah Barker SC is a partner and head of litigation and dispute resolution at Singapore law firm KhattarWong LLP.

An application has also been filed for the admission of Lord Peter Goldsmith QC to argue the couple’s appeal as co-counsel with Barker.

Lord Goldsmith is a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and Chair of Asia and European Litigation at law firm Debevoise and Plimpton LLP

Lord Goldsmith was also Attorney General for England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2007.

‘We are glad that Ms Barker and Lord Goldsmith have agreed to represent us in this case,’ the couple said in a statement.

‘Ms Barker’s extensive experience in a wide range of legal cases – having represented both individuals and private organizations in both the High Court and Court of Appeal – makes her the ideal person to take on this next crucial stage of the constitutional challenge.’

‘Likewise, Lord Goldsmith has a formidable reputation in cases involving constitutional and fundamental rights, and has recently argued a similar case to [Section] 377A before the Belize Court of Appeal on points of international law.

‘We also thank our lawyers, Mr Peter Low and Mr Choo Zheng Xi for having the courage to take our case up and for seeing us through the High Court challenge.’

Low said he and Zheng Xi had been privileged to have been involved in the case.

‘We are honored to have been part of this landmark challenge to right an apparent historic injustice,’ Low said.

‘We continue to fully support the cause of constitutional equality and wish Gary and Kenneth the best before the Court of Appeal.’

The news comes just weeks after 21,000 people showed up to support Singapore’s Pink Dot LGBT pride event and Vincent Wijeysingha became the first Singapore politician to come out as gay.