HRC Blog

After 76 Years, Singapore High Court to Reconsider Anti-LGBT Law

InternationalPost submitted by Bo Suh, HRC Digital Media Intern

Today, Singapore’s Supreme Court heard challenges to the country’s 76-year-old ban on same-sex conduct. 

The ban, known as Section 377A, has existed since 1938. The Singaporean government says that the ban has not been actively enforced since the mid-1990s, but 185 people were convicted under the section from 1997 to 2006. 

Last year, LGBT activists started an online petition for abolition of the ban at a lower court. The High Court rejected the lawsuit to repeal the ban.

According to a recent poll, nearly 80 percent of Singaporeans oppose same-sex relationships. Religious groups lead the opposition to the repeal of the ban, including both Christian and Muslim groups. Recently, Singapore has experienced several setbacks for the LGBT rights movement – last week, the National Library Board removed three children’s books featuring same-sex couples from shelves and ordered them destroyed. In May, a gay man lost his discrimination case after being forced to resign because of harassment.

Despite this hostile environment, an LGBT community continues to grow in Singapore. A record 26,000 people attended the Pink Dot Rally in 2014, Singapore’s annual LGBT pride rally. The rally also received the support from major multinational corporations, including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. 

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