Singapore: The current legal position on Section 377A is a “very messy compromise” and the law criminalizing sexual intercourse between men is “vulnerable” to legal challenges, even second justice minister says One Minister for Culture, Communities and Youth, Edwin Tong, said: .

This means the government “cannot maintain the status quo for much longer,” he told the CNA on Monday.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Sunday that Singapore would repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code. Criminal law was first introduced by the British colonial government in his 1930s.

Speaking at a National Day rally, Lee added that the constitution would also be amended to protect the definition of marriage between a man and a woman from being challenged in court.

In an interview with CNA, Tong said there have been four petitions to the Supreme Court in recent years to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A. None have been successful so far.

However, in a recent challenge earlier this year, a court led by Supreme Court Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon withheld a ruling on whether Section 377A violated Article 12 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality before the law. has reaffirmed that it is “not enforceable in the United States.” the whole of it.”

The government considered the ruling “very carefully” and, on the advice of Attorney General Lucien Wong, made a “grave case” that Section 377A could be revoked on the grounds that it violated the constitution’s equal protection provisions. expressed the overall view that there is a “risk”. said Ton.

The minister said cases where Section 377A has been invalidated by courts have also occurred in other countries, including Asian countries such as India.

“So we felt we couldn’t just ignore this risk and do nothing, because if 377A were to be demolished, our marriage law would be challenged for the same reason,” Tong said. said.

“This could lead to same-sex marriage being recognized in Singapore, which will also influence other laws and policies that build on the existing definition of marriage.”

Because these issues are best resolved by elected governments rather than by courts that consider them “only from a rigorous legal standpoint,” Tong said governments “should be held accountable and need to act now.” There is,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who gave the same interview on Monday, said the court proceedings were “adversarial” in nature.

“Any court ruling will lead to win-win outcomes for those involved, and such outcomes will further divide and polarize our society,” he said.

“The Court itself stated that the political sphere was the more obvious choice for making such a decision, as it allows the different views and aspirations of Singaporeans to be addressed and balanced through the political process. I have.”

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