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After Section 377 verdict in India, Singapore DJ files court challenge against law banning gay sex

Singapore: Buoyed by the recent landmark ruling on homosexuality in India, a Singaporean disc jockey has filed a court challenge against a law in the city state banning gay sex, saying it is inconsistent with parts of the Constitution, a media report said on Wednesday.

Johnson Ong Ming, 43, filed the case on Monday, and will contend that Section 377A is "accordingly void" as it is inconsistent with Singapore's Constitution.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Ming's court challenge comes a few days after India's Supreme Court in a landmark ruling decriminalised consensual gay sex and termed it as an important step forward towards a liberal and tolerant society.

Ming, who also owns a digital marketing agency, told Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday that he chose to mount the court challenge as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) groups are "not allowed to organise" and "don't see ourselves represented positively on mainstream media, if at all".

"Without access to help and resources, navigating through life is a lonely and often stressful process for every LGBT Singaporean."

"Most importantly, I am not a criminal and I do not want to go through life being branded as one by my own country. It takes a psychological toll on you going through life thinking you are less than everyone else," Ming said.

According to court papers, the case argues that Section 377A of the Penal Code is inconsistent with three articles in the Constitution concerning liberty of a person and equal protection.

Under 377A, any male person who commits or tries to get another male person to commit "any act of gross indecency with another male person", whether in public or private, can be jailed for up to two years.

Ming will be represented by lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam whose law firm said it will argue that Section 377A "violates human dignity".

Veteran Singapore diplomat Tommy Koh called for Singapore's gay community to challenge 377A last week.

The ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the comments in response to a Facebook post on India's landmark ruling.


Updated Date: Sep 12, 2018 16:18 PM

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