What is Section 377A about?

Section 377A of the Penal Code (Cap. 224, 2008 Rev. Ed. Sing.) criminalizes acts of “gross indecency” between male persons. These have been held by the Singapore courts to include touching the penis1, anal intercourse2, fellatio3, and being masturbated by the hand4.

Outrages on decency

377A. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

As at 2013, Singapore is one of 76 countries that still maintain anti-sodomy laws which criminalize same-sex sexual conduct5

While there have been increasing challenges and calls to repeal Section 377A, the government has thus far maintained its position to retain it.

Singapore is basically a conservative society. The family is the basic building block of our society… And by “family” in Singapore, we mean one man one woman, marrying, having children and bringing up children within that framework of a stable family unit.
…So we should strive to maintain a balance, to uphold a stable society with traditional, heterosexual family values, but with space for homosexuals to live their lives and contribute to the society.
…They do not have to go underground. We do not harass gays. The Government does not act as moral policemen. And we do not proactively enforce Section 377A on them…

~ Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
2007 parliamentary debate on Section 377A6

 

Endnotes
1. Ng Huat v PP (1995) 2 SLR® 66 (Sing. H.C.)
2. PP v. Tan Ah Kit (2000) SGHC 254; PP v. Amayapapan Kodanpany (2010) 2 SLR 1025 (Sing. H.C.)
3. PP v. Lim Beng Cheok (2003) SGHC 54; Adam bin Darsin v. PP (2001) 1 SLR® 709 (Sing. C.A.); Lim Hock Hin Kelvin v. PP (1998) 1 SLR® 37 (Sing. C.A.)
4. PP v. Rahim bin Basron (2010) 3 SLR 278 (Sing. H.C.)
5. Lucas Paoli Itaborahyand Jingshu Zhu, State-Sponsored Homophobia, A World Survey Of Laws: Criminalisation, Protection And Recognition Of Same-Sex Love (International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association, May 2013, 8th edition)
6. Lee Hsien Loong’s Speech on Section 377A (Yawning Bread, November 2007)