ST: Anti-repeal camp enters 'gay sex law' fray (Oct 20)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Anti-repeal camp enters 'gay sex law' fray

By Keith Lin
IT IS rare that Singaporeans remember laws by their actual chapter and verse, but Section 377A looks set to change that.

The section is that part of the Penal Code which deems sex between men a crime.

Even as major amendments to the Code will be debated on Monday, when Parliament sits, Section 377A will remain.

That has not stopped the debate on it from hotting up.

On Tuesday, Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong filed a Parliamentary Petition, effectively launching the most formal challenge yet to this law.

Penned on the petition's crisp white pages were the signatures of about 2,500 people. The petition, which he will read on Monday when Parliament sits, comes on the back of an online campaign to repeal Section 377A.

On Thursday, an anti-repeal camp launched a website to collect signatures backing the Government's position to retain 377A.

The website - called in a jibe at the website - asks Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in an open letter to 'do what is right and retain S377A for the future of our children and our nation'.

At press time, it had gathered 4,939 signatures since it went 'live' on Thursday afternoon.

One of its founders, Mr Martin Tan, 30, said: 'If we allow the repeal of 377A, it will send a signal that homosexual lifestyles can be made mainstream and is acceptable to the majority of Singaporeans, which is not the case.'

'We believe it is time the majority spoke up on this issue.'

How will the debate evolve? What is at stake? Insight finds out.