Singapore’s Court of Appeal refused to overturn Section 377A of the country’s Penal Code, thereby retaining as law of the land the criminalization of consensual sex between men.
In its decision, the Court of Appeal judges stressed that there actually exists a “political compromise” from the city state’s government, which agreed not to proactively enforce the existing law. In 2007, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s government decided to keep the discriminatory law on the books to reflect the country’s conservative social norms and attitudes when it comes to homosexuality. And so, for the judges, because the law was currently unenforceable, it was no longer necessary to address this issue.
The Court of Appeal, similarly, stated that any change to the status quo would require a decision by the executive branch.
To date, Singapore is one of the few former British colonies still clinging to the Penal Code’s Section 377A. Malaysia and Sri Lanka also retained the law in some form, but India did away with the legislation in 2018.