In a huge setback for LGBT activists, this week, the high court of Singapore upheld the country’s ban on anal and oral sex between men.
Challengers to Section 377A of the Penal Code argued that the ban violated their rights to equal protection and to life and liberty. The court rejected these claims and said any changes in the law must come from the legislature.
Two separate challenges were brought, one by a man caught having sex with another man in a public toilet and the other by a homosexual couple. A High Court judge rejected both cases last year, and their appeals were heard this summer. On Wednesday, in a 101-page decision, the High Court again rejected their claims.
The Court explicitly rejected the temptation to rule in an activist way, finding rights not in the Singapore Constitution. The Court refused to read “sexual orientation” into Article 12 of the Constitution and rejected the proposition that the “life and liberty” clause of the Constitution referred to privacy or personal autonomy.
Also rejected by the Court was the offer to become a “mini-legislature.”
The anti-sodomy law was instituted 76 years ago when Singapore was a British colony.