[JURIST] The Court of Appeal of the Republic of Singapore, the appellate division of the Supreme Court of Singapore [official website], on Tuesday ruled [judgment, PDF] that a national law criminalizing male homosexuality conforms with the city-state’s constitution [text]. Three homosexual men brought the case [Straits Times report] against the attorney general, arguing the 76-year-old homosexuality provision of the current penal code [text], Section 377A, violates their right to equal protection and life and liberty, pursuant to Article 12 and Article 9 of the constitution. Section 377A is entitled “Outrages on Decency,” and the provision establishes a jail term not to exceed two years for men who commit acts of “gross indecency” with other men, in public or in private. The court held the statutory provision does not conflict with the constitution and the plaintiff’s remedy, if any, may lie in the legislative process. The Parliament of Singapore [official website] amended [Bloomberg report] provisions of Section 377A in 2007, following a two-day debate in parliament.
The legal rights afforded to homosexual couples in the US and other nations have increased substantially in recent years. However, many international countries retain laws that criminalize homosexual acts or are considering legislation to criminalize homosexuality. Last month advocacy group Amnesty International urged [JURIST report] the Republic of Chad to deny an amendment to the penal code that would criminalize homosexual conduct with a jail sentence of 15 to 20 years and a fine ranging from USD $100 to $1,000. Also last month Gambia’s National Assembly passed a bill [JURIST report] that mandates imprisonment for some homosexual acts, and amends the criminal code to bring life sentences for “aggravated homosexuality.” The bill is similar to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act [text, PDF], which was enacted in February 2014, then struck down on August, 1 2014 and appealed [JURIST reports] one week later by the Ugandan Attorney General. In January Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed [JURIST report] the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act into law, prompting condemnation throughout the international community. The law bans same-sex marriage and criminalizes homosexual associations, societies and meetings and carries a punishment of up to 14 years imprisonment.