LGBT community: Shocked and disappointed by Court of Appeal's verdict on Section 377A

Participants at Pink Dot 2012 blowing bubbles at Hong Lim Park on June 30, 2012. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Participants at Pink Dot 2012 blowing bubbles at Hong Lim Park on June 30, 2012. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community here released a statement on Thursday expressing their disappointment in the ruling by the Court of Appeal that Section 377A of the Penal Code is constitutional.

Section 377A is the law that criminalises sex between men. The offence carries up to a two-year jail term for men who, in public or private, commit acts of "gross indecency" with other men.

The statement read: "Despite the authorities' claim that this law will not be enforced, the existence of Section 377A has a wide-ranging effect...It gives carte blanche for discrimination and reinforces prejudice, leading to censorship in the media and the aggravation of negative stereotypes, and impacting the health and wellbeing of a significant segment of society.

"With this verdict, an opportunity to showcase Singapore as a truly accepting, open and inclusive society - and a great place to live, work and play - has been missed."

The joint statement is issued by groups including LGBT counselling service Oogachaga, LGBT welfare network SAFE, gay rights movement Pink Dot and women's gay rights group Sayoni.

On Wednesday, the highest court in Singapore upheld Section 377A, rejecting arguments that the provision contravened the Constitution. Gay couple Gary Lim, 46, and Kenneth Chee, 38, as well as 51-year-old Tan Eng Hong, had argued that the provision was discriminatory and should be declared void by the court.