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Singapore court upholds gay sex ban

Tuesday - March 31, 2020 3:03 pm , Category : WORLD
Singapore, March 31 (IANS) A Singapore court has dismissed a bid to overturn a law that criminalises gay sex, dealing a blow to the city-states LGBT movement, a media report said.
The high court on Monday rejected appeals by three gay men who had argued the colonial-era law was unconstitutional, the BBC said in the report.
The presiding judge said the law was "important in reflecting public sentiment and beliefs" in Singapore.
Under Section 377A, men found guilty of homosexual acts in public or private can be jailed for up to two years.
Speaking outside court, a lawyer for one of the complainants, M Ravi, said he was "very disappointed" by the ruling.
"It's shocking to the conscience and it is so arbitrary," the BBC quoted the lawyer as saying.
The legal challenges were the latest attempts to repeal Section 377A, after an effort by a gay couple in 2014 was rejected by the Court of Appeal.
Singapore's authorities rarely enforce Section 377A, first introduced in 1938 by British colonial rulers.
But the city-state's leaders have refused to remove it, saying it reflects the conservative mores of the city state's society, the BBC reported.
In Monday's judgement, the court echoed that sentiment, saying non-enforcement of the law against consensual gay sex in private did not render it redundant.
The court concluded the law was constitutional because it did not violate articles regarding equality and freedom of speech.
Currently 70 countries criminalise same-sex relations.

--IANS ksk/