Veteran Singapore diplomat Tommy Koh backs petition to repeal anti-gay law

Singapore diplomat Tommy Koh (middle) with Narendra Modi (left) and Lee Hsien Loong (right) (Photo: Facebook)

Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large, Professor Tommy Koh, has backed a petition to repeal the city-state’s anti-gay law, Section 377A.

The Ready4Repeal campaign announced the veteran diplomat as a lead signatory on Friday (21 September).

‘377A is a bad and unjust law. In my view it is also a violation of our constitution,’ the campaign’s website quoted him as saying. Koh also updated his Facebook profile picture with the quote.

The high-level support comes as debate over repealing Section 377A intensifies.

Section 377A bans homosexual sex between men. It is punishable by up to two years in prison. Although the law is rarely enforced, it essentially criminalizes gay men in Singapore.

Debate over the old British law has raged since India dismantled a similar colonial-era law earlier this month.

Koh was one of the first to weigh in on the debate. In a Facebook post, he called on the community to ‘bring a class action to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A.’

Singapore’s hot issue

Since then, the Ready4Repeal petition has garnered more than 45,000 signatures. More than 100,000 people, meanwhile, have signed a petition to keep the anti-gay law.

In the last two weeks, both Christian and Islamic organizations have expressed support for the anti-gay law.

The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (PERGAS) said it supported Section 377A on religious grounds. It warned repealing the law threatened ‘the traditional family unit as the foundation of society’.

Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, William Goh, appealed to all Catholics to reject repeal efforts ‘for the future of our families, humanity, and society’.

LGBTI advocates in the city responded by calling for religious organizations to remain outside of politics.

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Source: Gay News