The argument about Section 377A

You may have heard the buzz about Section 377A of the Singapore penal code. India had a similar one – a holdover from the colonial era – but it was recently repealed. Now there’s a debate about whether or not Singapore should repeal it as well.

While both Christian and Muslim groups are against the repeal, Prof Tommy Koh, our Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was for it.

In his commentary published on the Straits Times, he stresses that ‘there is a difference between sin and crime’, hinting that as a secular country we should not rely on religious views to dictate our laws.

He explains: “While all the developed, Western countries do not criminalise sodomy, a notable number of Asian territories also fall into this category, including China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand.”

So what does the general public (specifically, those who follow ST), have to say? While the opinion seems to be mainly for the repeal, there’s a big proportion of the public who still have a fear of letting go.

From this person’s perspective, the laws are there for a reason – but we’re not sure what lawful reason there is to meddle with other people’s private affairs:

This person, however, can’t seem to get an image of genitals ‘criss-crossing’ out of his head. But the law isn’t preventing people from ‘criss crossing’ genitals, exactly. And… just because someone supports the repeal doesn’t mean they have to be a homosexual. Just like you don’t have to be a female to stand up for gender equality.

And just as the last poster said – promiscuity and adultery is far more sinful.

Anyway, we move on to this person who thinks the society will disintegrate, because of something people do in the privacy of their own homes. Thanks, Thanos.

If you scrolled through ST’s Facebook page enough, you’ll see plenty of people make arguments for or against the repeal of Section 377A. They do make for an interesting read, and they really do tell you about the state of what we are thinking as a nation.