Why does Section 377A still exist?

Those who disagree with Section 377A (and push for its repeal) argue that there is no point to retain a law if it is not enforced. They further challenge that if the objective of this law was to protect public morality and health, it should in all fairness extend to homosexual acts by women and to acts other than homosexuality which are against public morality and pose a public health risk.

Many view Section 377A as unnecessarily discriminating against homosexual people because it criminalizes a certain group of people. They believe this devalues and degrades the person, causing psychological damage to the individual and hindering HIV/AIDS public awareness efforts because of stigma attached to homosexuality.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers has clarified that Section 377A does not target homosexual people per se, but acts of gross indecency between men.1 Yet, in our desire to exercise humanistic compassion towards the homosexual person, we may not accurately distinguish that the law is in fact addressing the homosexual act. Logically, Section 377A does help to protect minors and others against unwanted sexual predation.

The United Kingdom, wherefrom Section 377A originated, and many other Commonwealth nations have decriminalized homosexual conduct. Although Section 377A has been criticized as outdated and redundant, the Singapore government has maintained its stand on the law as ultimately having the “clearly-stated purpose” of reflecting public morality – “the majority of Singaporeans still find homosexual acts unacceptable, as reflected in parliamentary debates”2.

We need to recognize that decriminalizing homosexual conduct symbolizes societal acceptance that such conduct is normal, which is one of the objectives of the LGBT movement to normalise and promote homosexuality (see Qn.27 & 28).

1. Leonard Lim, Challenge to Gay-Sex Law Heard in Chambers (The Straits Times, 15 February 2013)
2. Ibid.