Singaporeans petition against gay sex laws ahead of parliament debate

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October 9, 2007 12:36
1 minute read.

 
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Hundreds of Singaporeans are calling for the government to decriminalize homosexual sex, ahead of a parliamentary debate on the most extensive revision of the city-state's penal code in 23 years. Under the proposed changes to be debated October 22, oral and anal sex between consenting heterosexual adults will no longer be considered an offense. But Section 377A, which deals with the same acts between men, will remain in force with a maximum penalty of two years in jail. Gay rights advocates say the clause is "Victorian legislation" that discriminates against a minority group and violates an individual's right to privacy. They launched a protest Friday, including an online petition to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, which by Tuesday had garnered more than 2,200 signatories. "There is a small window of opportunity here to try to get our leaders to consider repealing Section 377A," petition organizer Alan Seah said in a statement. By keeping the clause, "we are in fact moving backwards, which defeats the government's goals of updating our criminal laws to keep in step with Singapore's image as a modern and forward thinking country," he said. Earlier this year, Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew acknowledged that some people were "genetically born a homosexual" and "can't help it. So why should we criminalize it?" raising hopes that Section 377A would be abolished.

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