Pink Dot is dismayed that the latest report on criminal law reform by the Penal Code Review Committee (PCRC) does not include the consideration and repeal of Section 377A, which today continues to criminalise sex between mutually consenting male adults under the offence of ‘Outrages on Decency’.
The PCRC was tasked to thoroughly review our criminal law so that it can remain relevant and robust. But yet they were denied from even considering that specific section. This conspicuous omission of Section 377A is all the more glaring, given that an important remit of the PCRC is to modernise the law to better protect vulnerable people and minorities in Singapore.
Section 377A would have been the perfect candidate for such a review and and repeal. It is a colonial relic of Victorian values that was left behind by the British from before Singapore’s independence. The law treats an already unprotected segment of citizens as unequal by characterising them as unconvicted criminals. The Government’s position that Section 377A will not be enforced makes clear that it serves no function in the Penal Code except to perpetuate discrimination of a marginalized community.
Section 377A should have no place in the Singapore of here and now.
Countries around the world are already finding the retention of such laws indefensible. India’s Supreme Court recently struck down its version of the law (Section 377), ruling unanimously that it was unconstitutional and out of touch with their modern society. In doing so, the Court also resoundingly affirmed the view that harmony in a plural society is only achievable when the rights of the minority are protected from the whims of the majority.
Singapore is a modern society and a home to many diverse communities. Our laws therefore need to protect the rights and interests of its minorities. We urge every Singaporean who shares in this belief to let your voices be heard and sign this petition. Let us not miss this opportunity to ditch this antiquated law. Let us not risk leaving Singapore behind on the wrong side of history. Let us not leave the LGBTQ+ community behind again.
Pink Dot SG endorses the ongoing petition ‘Ready For Repeal’, which seeks to gather supporting signatures that will be delivered to the Penal Code Review Committee and local Members of Parliament by September 24, 2018.
Click here to view and sign the petition.