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Couple seeks to have 377A declared invalid by Supreme Court

Clients are not asking for "social change" but only seeking to "enforce" the Constitution, their defence lawyer said.

SINGAPORE: A gay couple, who are appealing against the dismissal of their challenge that Section 377A of the Penal Code is unconstitutional, also argued that the courts should declare the statute invalid should their appeal be thrown out.

Defence lawyer Deborah Barker argued at the appeal on Monday (July 14) that the law should be modified such that it would not apply to two consenting adults and for sexual acts done in private.

Ms Barker also submitted that her clients, graphic designers Lim Meng Suang and Kenneth Chee Mun-Leon, were not seeking to change the Constitution, but only to "enforce" it.

“The Appellants are not asking for 'social change' or the affirmation that male homosexual conduct is acceptable in Singapore,” she said.

“Rather, this Court is only invited to find that the majority cannot impose its views (disguised as public morality) through democratic process to target an unpopular minority group by restricting their intimate conduct in private, which is legal for everyone else on the ground that the majority disapproves of such harmless conduct.”

The two men, who have been a couple for 15 years, had contended that Section 377A discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, which violates Article 12 of the Constitution. Article 12 of the Constitution states that “all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”. Their challenge had been dismissed by the court in April last year.

The hearing continues on Monday afternoon.

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