Unwrapped: Why 377A stays and how communities can better accept one another

  • The Singapore Government is carefully considering the best way forward on Section 377A of the Penal Code, which will not be proactively enforced.
  • Through our weekly series Unwrapped this week, TheHomeGround Asia takes a closer look at why keep Section 377A when it continues to be deeply divisive of the community and how Singapore can be an all inclusive society.

In our weekly series Unwrapped, TheHomeGround Asia takes a closer look at major stories and happenings that impact Singaporeans.

Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam told Parliament on Thursday (3 March) that the Government is carefully considering the best way forward on Section 377A of the Penal Code. The section criminalises sex between men but the Government has said it will not be proactively enforced.

Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Law Minister, said, “We must respect the different viewpoints, consider them carefully, talk to the different groups. … If and when we decide to move, we will do so in a way that continues to balance these different viewpoints, and avoids causing a sudden, destabilising change in social norms and public expectations.”

This comes in the wake of Singapore’s highest court, the Court of Appeal, upholding a lower court’s decision to dismiss three challenges to Section 377A mounted by disc jockey Johnson Ong Ming, retired general practitioner Roy Tan Seng Kee and former executive director of LGBT non-profit organisation Oogachaga Bryan Choong Chee Hoong.

But the question remains: Why have a piece of legislation that not only will not be executed, but also continues to be deeply divisive of the community, when Singapore seeks to be an inclusive society, where mutual respect and tolerance for different views and practices are paramount?

RELATED: Section 377A stays but will not be used to prosecute. So, what now?

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