High Court rejects anti-discrimination bid by gay man

The High Court has struck out an application by former Robinsons employee Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San to have discrimination against gay men declared unconstitutional. -- TNP FILE PHOTO: JEREMY LONG
The High Court has struck out an application by former Robinsons employee Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San to have discrimination against gay men declared unconstitutional. -- TNP FILE PHOTO: JEREMY LONG

The High Court has struck out an application by a former Robinsons employee to have discrimination against gay men declared unconstitutional.

The Court, which heard the case in chambers, also ordered Mr Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San, 40, to pay the costs of his case in the decision issued on Monday.

Mr Wee, a former assistant general manager for cards and corporate sales at Robinsons, had claimed that he was harassed into resigning in August last year due to his homosexuality.

He filed an affidavit in August this year asking the court to declare that Article 12 of the Constitution applies, regardless of sexual orientation. Article 12 states that "all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law".

He also brought a separate civil suit against the department store. That case was dismissed on contractual grounds but he has appealed against the decision.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Attorney-General's Chambers explained why it had applied to strike out the case in a statement issued on Tuesday. "The Court agreed with the AG that Mr Wee had failed to show an arguable case that the Government had violated his Article 12 constitutional rights. Mr Wee had therefore failed to show that he even had standing to seek the declaration," said the statement.

Mr Wee's "real grievance of alleged discrimination is against his former employer, and not the Government", it added. The AG also contended that his bid was "an abuse of process" as "it was taken to gain a collateral advantage" in his suit against his former employer, which is currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Hence, his claim was rejected on the basis that "it is not sustainable in law, is frivolous and vexatious or is otherwise an abuse of the Court process", said the statement.