Section 377A Hot
Section 377A of the penal code states "Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years."
This is no such punishment for similar male to female conduct.
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Ambivalent attitude towards it
I must confess that I am always oddly interested in the whole concept of the 377A penal code. This mind-boggling issue of gay rights and the freedom to love has been increasingly debated in Singapore, especially with greater support for the annual Pink Dot movement.
Living in a liberalized society today where mindsets are increasingly more accepting of aberrations, the penal code would understandable seem to most as unrelenting and discriminatory. While I agree that everyone has the right to love who they want, regardless of gender, race or age, I believe that the penal code has a larger significance than that of itself.
By and large, Singapore remain a conservative society even as mindsets are slowly but surely shifting. We have many religious groups here, and some of the religions preaches against homosexuality. To approve of gay marriage is a huge step to take for the government and we need to be prepared mentally, culturally, and demographically.
As much as we aspire to become as liberated as the other western countries, we need to understand the context of the Asian society we're in and the degree of acceptance currently. In addition, we must also understand the implications on our declining birth rates. Perhaps it would help if Singaporeans railing for this change would stop to think further.
My stance towards the penal code remains ambivalent. I am in favour of both sides, for different reasons. I can only hope that eventually everyone can find their rightful freedom to love without significant compromises on the nation.
Singapore compares itself with many other countries when it comes to talking about a city with the likes of 'modern', 'cosmopolitan', 'open' and other such opening descriptions. However, one can never expect the city which likens itself to giants to be so set back into the past.
The notion of being 'gay' is slowly being turned around with the rise of the Gay Movement. It is now increasingly more and more commonplace to see the notion of being gay accepted in a greater number of settings. Although there is a valid argument in that such a state is akin to peversing the way nature is supposed to work, as it take 2 individuals of opposite genders to reproduce biologically and would not work out with 2 individuals of the same gender, it should be noteworthy that given a burgeoning population and the ability of human beings to feel and think, the perception of what type of love an individual wants is placed above nature's reproduction to ensure survival of the species.
Moreover, though it is unthinkable to traditionalists who abhor such deviations from the traditional notion of sex, gayness is fast becoming a norm. Those who do not keep up in times may soon find themselves left behind. Although Singapore is safe economically, what if the next president of USA is a gay and boycotts trade with Singapore due to its notion in homosexuality, which is a major issue in the US?
Hence, as old laws become obselete, they should be relooked at and renewed.
While many people stand for a certain side in this controversial issue, I try to stand impartially in light of the situation at hand.
The Penal Code 377A stipulates that any intercourse between two men is banned - however, while the original intent was that all gay sex is prohibited, this law has been passed down for generations from the British rule in the past. Despite that, the government has actually clarified that this law is only applicable for the prosecution of public gay sex. While it is true that the Singapore government tries to continue to uphold the oft thought of moral standards of the country, it is true that gays can still continue to do as they wish in the vicinity of their homes, behind closed doors. In this instance then, I feel that the law is fair - any straight public sex would also be condoned and would also be prosecuted under another law. The law doesn't govern how one can choose to live - it just discourages the lack of shame that some might have in engaging in sexual activities publicly.
And that, is a culture that I don't want to live in. Not that gays should not be allowed to marry, but watching people have public sex whenever and where ever they wish. That would truly, indeed, be disturbing.
That being said, everyone has a choice to live, just like how there are always two sides to a coin. Regarding this issue, I personally find that there is room for more understanding instead of blatant condemnation, incessant quarrelling, and pointless name calling. When will the fight ever end if this goes on?
One of The Most Unnecessary Laws I've Ever Come Across
I believe that this law represents anything along the lines of cowardly. The reason why any government would impose a law that discriminates and deprives citizens of their basic rights is because they don't want to agitate the conservatives, they just want to follow their beliefs and the 'majority' to maintain peace and order.
Okay, you've got Singapore, a peaceful, riot-free, war-free and conflict-free country that is making their mark in the economical world, but, are we happy? If you follow the general consensus, we are a pretty stable country, but not everybody realises that in it are many loopholes.
These kind of discriminatory and prejudicial laws have squeezed us dry of our emotions, it makes the majority so numb to these issues because they aren't talked about or cared about enough. It has made the country less feeling, less understanding and thus I am not surprised that Singapore is one of the unhappiest countries.
I just don't understand the point of this law. So what, if two men love each other and decide to have sex. So what, if a man is just going to have a one-night stand with another man in the toilet. Sure, some sexual acts like cheating on your partner may be wrong, but guess what, don't straight people do that too? Homosexuals are no different from heterosexuals, just like how you can never bring yourself to like a certain genre of music, homosexuals can never bring themselves to like somebody of the opposite sex. The fact that it is a same-sex relationship does and should not set us apart from the others, and it does NOT define a person's character.
Let love be what it really is, and don't try to deprive others of that right to love truly. Whether a man and a man have sex or not is none of anybody's business. If conservatives have something to say about it, then they should jolly well deal with it, because a law is a law, and one should never mix personal beliefs and religion with constitution. We are a multi-racial country, and learning to live with other races is something that we are already accustomed to, is accepting others' sexual orientation so much of a chore?
Definitely needs to be re-looked at
This law represents the discrimination faced by homosexuals with regards to their sexual freedom and I definitely believe that it must be re-opened to debate.
But, I also understand why this law is still in place. Don't forget that Singapore is still in the process of making a slow transition in removing its unusually rigid restrictions on its citizens. Intolerance towards homosexuals remain a big issue in Singapore, especially around the conservatives, and it is more important to change that mindset first before re-looking at the legal system.
This law has got to be among the most archaic and contradictory law in Singapore. While the government has said that it is a law in name only, I can only guess at the rationale behind it – there seem equal proportions of liberal and conservative members in the Singapore population; the government is trying to be conservative; the government is afraid it would lose the vote of the conservative members of society…
The reasons are endless. Whatever.
This law is conservative to the point of being an embarrassment for the country. I remember being stumped for words when asked by my foreign friends about this issue. The debate regarding this seems to be going nowhere, if only because Singaporeans are generally so apathetic about it. The government has always taken it upon itself to educate the public; surely it can do the same for this so that the stereotypes concerning the issue can be resolved.
Backward and ridiculous
Being a strong supporter of LGBT rights, I firmly believe that this law shouldn't even exist anymore.
Why is there an official infringement of human rights within our country? Shouldn't all citizens of Singapore be entitled to the justice and equality that we often preach?
It is about time that we look towards the future. What we value in people is their talents, commitment, personalities and so on. It is no use discriminating our own people based on sexuality – it isn’t going to bring us anywhere.
I am proud being an open-minded Singaporean, and definitely want to see a change for the better in the country.
Why is this STILL a law?
When I first found out about Section 377A last year, I was disgusted and shocked beyond belief. Partly because it's a law in Singapore still (I thought better of you, dear nation) and partly because it took me so long to know about it. Like, why aren't there more people mad that this kind of law exists?? There should be petitions, and people talking about this. I know there's that Pink Dot event, but more should be done!
I'm already pretty fed up that same-sex marriage isn't legal in Singapore, but this law? A total joke. Another reason for me to migrate, seriously.
It's laws like this that make me feel like giving a huge giant face-palm to Singapore. According to Wikipedia, this law was introduced in 1938 to criminalise all other non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Well, it was 1938, and I understand people were more conservative that time. But hey, this is 2012 going on 2013! Gay men still can't have sex here? What happened to democracy in Singapore? Singapore may be progressing in terms of technology but way of thinking? Nah.
I really feel sorry for the homosexuals in Singapore. With laws like this, they should really just migrate elsewhere. Two years jail term for having sex with your lover, really sucks to be gay in Singapore. America is probably laughing at us now.
Do I need to launch another tirade for Singapore banning gum too?