Showing posts with label Singapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Singapore. Show all posts

December 2, 2015

Anti Gay Petition in Singapore to Stop Adam Lambert


A petition to prevent Adam Lambert from performing in Singapore on New Year’s Eve has reached its goal of 20,000 supporters who object to Lambert’s sexuality.
The petition calls on the government as well as the concert’s organizers to remove Lambert from the line-up of the annual televised event.

Adam Lambert Talks About Sleeping With Closeted Stars.. .And Women!
The language of the petition is wildly homophobic, even though its backers now dispute the nature of their ‘concern.’

Singaporeans can enjoy a good show without their consciences being affronted by lewd acts in the name of entertainment.

Yes, but couldn’t most female pop singers who aren’t Adele be accused of “lewdness” in their stage acts? Beyonce, Miley, J-Lo, Britney, Rihanna, Taylor, hello??

The petition goes on:
In addition, a simple online search would reveal that he is well-known for his active promotion of a highly sexualized lifestyle and LGTBT rights, of which are contrary to mainstream Singaporean values.
LGBT rights are still a divisive issue in Singapore, where sex between men is a criminal act.
Adam Lambert Reads From 50 Shades Of Grey—Mmmmm
But a rival petition, supported by Lambert and his legion of ever loyal Glamberts, has now reached its goal of 24,000 signatures.  Lambert posted a link to the petition on his Facebook page, where he wrote:
My performance at Celebrate 2016 will not only be a spectacular one, it will celebrate the entire human family in all its diversity. I am a uniter, not a divider, and I believe in celebrating the human heart and spirit. I have put together an entirely new show experience for my fans that is kicking off in Singapore. The Original High tour is based primarily on new material, and it promises to be a thoughtful and sophisticated insight into the pursuit of happiness and self-worth. There is no better time for celebration than at the moment one year changes into another, so I hope you will join me to celebrate the future and 2016.

The group behind the original petition have construed Lambert’s statement as a concession to their concern about lewdness. Here is their latest statement:
Thankfully, the performer himself has responded that he will be putting on a different show which is hopefully in better taste and shows greater restraint.

Well. One can only hope that Adam Lambert shows Singapore and homophobes around the world that music and sexuality are joys to be celebrated by everyone everywhere, on New Year’s Eve and every day thereafter.

A spokesperson for Stonewall told The Independent:
While there has been great progress for LGBT equality around the world, huge challenges still remain. Sex with some of the same sex is illegal in 76 countries and punishable by death in 10. It’s great, therefore, to see that so many spoke out in support of Adam Lambert and against discrimination.

November 3, 2014

Singapore’s Court Rules With Government Vs. the Constitution

A FOUR-YEAR battle ended yesterday, when Singapore's highest court upheld the constitutionality of Section 377(a) of the country's penal code, which renders any man convicted of committing "or abet[ting] the commission of...any act of gross indecency" with another man liable to two years in prison. Tan Eng Hong first challenged the law in September 2010, after he was charged under 377(a) for having oral sex with another man in a public-toilet stall. Two years later a second challenge was raised by Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee, a gay couple who have been together for 17 years. They argued that the law contravened two articles in Singapore's constitution: Article 9, which guarantees that "no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with the law", and Article 12, the first section of which states, "All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law."
The result was not entirely surprising. Singapore's government tends to do well before Singaporean courts: it has, for instance, never lost a defamation suit. The court itself, both in oral arguments last summer and in this ruling, repeatedly expresses unwillingness to consider "extra-legal" and "emotional" arguments, which have their place in the legislative rather than the judicial process. The court's role, the ruling said, was to be "independent, neutral and objective", though in the early, throat-clearing section of this ruling, the court noted that it grants the government a "presumption of constitutionality", because "our legislature is presumed not to enact legislation which is inconsistent with the Singapore Constitution." In other words, the court will neutrally and objectively weigh the arguments presented by each side, though one side (the government's) enters with the wind at its back.
Attorneys for Messrs Lim and Chee argued that inherent to Article 9's guarantees of life and liberty are "a limited right to privacy and personal autonomy allowing a person to express affection and love toward another human being." The court swiftly shot down that argument: in Singaporean jurisprudence, Article 9 only guards against unlawful detention. Mr Tan's attorney argued that 377(a) criminalises a group of people for an innate attribute; the court concluced here that "there is, at present, no definitive conclusion" on the "supposed immutability" of homosexuality (Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore's prime minister, takes a different view). M. Ravi, a human-rights lawyer representing the challengers, had argued that Section 377(a) arbitrarily distinguished between gay men and women, leaving the former open to incarceration and the latter untouched, but his argument also held no weight for the court. It cited an earlier ruling that validated that distinction because female homosexual acts "were either less prevalent or perceived to be less repugnant than male homosexual conduct". As for appeals to Article 12(1), the court pointed to the article immediately following, which states, "Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens of Singapore on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth," but does not mention sex, gender or sexual orientation.
It reviewed historical documents on Section 377(a)'s adoption, which precedes Singapore's independence, and held that the legislature has the right to pass laws that express and enforce popular morality. As for fears that this permits a tyranny of the majority, the court warns against a "tyranny of the minority", and says that in this case the appellants have failed to provide a "legal basis for claiming that their rights should trump those of the majority." As for the rather sensible argument that what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home neither harms anybody nor impinges on anyone else's rights to disapprove of what they do (only to have that disapproval codified into law), the court held that it was a question for the legislature.
The question now, of course, is whether Singapore's legislature will take up the debate. The last time it did so was 2007, when laws criminalising heterosexual anal and oral sex were removed. On a daily level, Singapore is hardly hostile to gay people: Pink Dot, its gay-pride event (pictured), drew a record crowd of 26,000 this year. Singapore told a United Nations anti-discrimination committee that "homosexuals are free to lead their lives and pursue their social activities. Gay groups have held public discussions and published websites, and there are films and plays on gay themes and gay bars and clubs in Singapore."
But if every sexually active gay man who attends one of those plays or bars or clubs has the threat of imprisonment hanging over his head, simply for who he chooses to love in the privacy of his own home, that tolerance is conditional. Between 2007 and 2013, nine people were convicted under 377(a), according to a spokesman for Singapore's State Courts.
And leaving aside arguments over whether the government has any place in the bedroom (this newspaper has long believed it does not), Singapore's laws make it an outlier, particularly in the developed world. Gay sex is now legal in 113 countries; gay marriage or civil unions in dozens more. Singapore is rightfully proud of its ability to attract talent from all over the world. Yet how long will that ability last? Section 377(a) turns men who are legally married in countries around the world into unindicted criminals in Singapore; why would they come here if they could go anywhere else?

October 30, 2014

Singapore Court Rejects Appeal of Anti Gay Law


SINGAPORE — The nation’s highest court on Wednesday Oct 29 ruled that a law that criminalises sex between men is constitutional.

The ruling covers both cases contesting the law, one brought by two graphic designers who have been in a relationship for 16 years, and the other by an artistic therapist who had been arrested for a sexual act committed in a toilet. …

The judges found that Section 377A of the Penal Code [which provides for up to two years in prison for physical intimacy between men] did not infringe on the rights of Lim Meng Suang and Kenneth Chee Mun-Leon [Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee], who in 2012 argued that the statute was inconsistent with Article 12 of the Constitution, or 51-year-old artistic therapist and social volunteer Tan Eng Hong, who had been arrested for engaging in oral sex with another man in a public toilet in 2010. …

“While we understand the deeply held personal feelings of the appellants, there is nothing that this court can do to assist them. Their remedy lies, if at all, in the legislative sphere,” the Court of Appeal said in its judgment.

Human rights lawyer M Ravi, representing Tan, said, “Today’s decision has legitimised discrimination against gay men and approved the criminalisation of the conduct of their private lives by statute.” It is “huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore,” he added.

Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, said, “Singapore likes to advertise itself as a modern Asian country and business destination, but this discriminatory anti-LGBT law is wholly out of step with international rights standards that guarantee protections, including for sexual orientation and gender identity.” 

Channel NewsAsia 

July 20, 2014

Singapore’s Highest Court Hears Challenge to 76 yr old ban on gay sex


Singapore’s highest court heard challenges to a 76-year-old ban on gay sex, a divisive issue afterIndia reversed a decision to strike down a similar law and same-sex marriage was allowed in New Zealand last year.
“Just because a matter is controversial does not mean the judiciary should shy away from upholding its constitutional mandate,” Deborah Barker, a lawyer for Kenneth Chee and Gary Lim, said today while arguing that the 1938 law violates rights to equal protection and should be declared void. Parliament, not the courts, is the right forum, a government lawyer argued.
Singapore lawmakers in 2007 agreed to keep the law, known as Section 377A, when they repealed related provisions that made heterosexual oral and anal sex a crime. Gay-rights activists and church groups advocated last year against and for the ban, which the government says it hasn’t actively enforced since the mid-1990s. That prompted the Attorney General’s Chamber to warn that comment on the case could be in contempt if calculated to affect the court’s decision.
“The majority of the population still favors the current legal framework,” Law Minister K. Shanmugam told Bloomberg News last month when asked about the case and its background. While society is evolving and social mores are changing, “the government has taken the position that this is a situation where it is best to agree to disagree.”
Source: Courtesy Gary Lim
Gary Lim, left, and Kenneth Chee at the Pink Dot event in Singapore on May 15, 2010.

‘Moral Future’

Police issued an advisory asking attendees at this year’s annual gay-pride rally Pink Dot on June 28 to “keep the peace” and avoid comments on race and religion. The warning followed Muslim and Christian groups calling on their followers to wear white on the day to signify “purity” and to oppose the event.
Gay activists early last year started an online petition for abolition ahead of a lower court hearing on the law’s constitutionality, and a group of pastors met Shanmugam to present their views on defending the nation’s “moral future.”
The Singapore Court of Appeal hearing today comes as battles over gay rights gained prominence in the past two years. India in December overturned a 2009 verdict legalizing consensual gay sex. Russia enacted anti-gay laws, stoking international ire, and New Zealand became the first Asia-Pacific nation to legalize gay marriages.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling triggered uncertainty in the country, where states have a patchwork of laws and court rulings allowing gay marriage in some and banning it in others.

Mandatory Jail

Recent survey results on gay acceptance in Singapore “shows the controversy in society,” the country’s Chief Prosecutor Aedit Abdullah said today.
“These are arguments that should lie with the legislature,” Aedit told the three-judge panel led by Andrew Phang. “We’re concerned about the knock-on effects and the effects on other statutes and laws,” he said.
M. Ravi, a lawyer for Tan Eng Hong who has a parallel appeal against the ban, said Section 377A was biased against homosexual men.
He said it would be almost impossible for a sexually-active gay man to remain on the right side of the law, which bans acts of “gross indecency” between males. Offenders face mandatory jail terms of as long as two years.
The law should either be declared void or modified to exclude acts between consenting adults in private, Barker said.
High Court Judge Quentin Loh had agreed with government lawyers when he heard both cases last year, saying the courts should be slow in overturning parliament’s decision.

Sting Operations

There were a total of 185 people convicted under section 377A over a 10-year period from 1997 to 2006, according to figures from the Home Affairs Ministry. Seven people were convicted in 2006, with 1999 having the highest at 31.
In the early 1990s, undercover police arrested several men in sting operations, charging them with molestation and public solicitation, according to reports in The Straits Times. A magazine with advertisements targeting homosexuals had its publishing license suspended and some theater plays deemed as promoting homosexual lifestyles were censored.
Even so, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told parliament in 2007 that “the government does not act as moral policemen.” Singapore is a conservative society with space for homosexuals, he said then. Lee said in January 2013 it was best for Singaporeans to “agree to disagree” on the issue of gay rights.

Prosecutorial Discretion

About 47 percent of 4,000 Singaporeans in a survey commissioned by the government rejected “gay lifestyles,” according to the results released in August. Twenty six percent were receptive and 27 percent neutral.
Then-Chief Justice Yong Pung How wrote in a 1995 ruling that he was “confident that the judicious exercise of prosecutorial discretion will prevail” in applying the law.
In 2003, then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said homosexuals were allowed to work in the civil service. Singaporean media published stories at the time touting the so-called pink dollar of affluent gay tourists. The following year, police banned a planned year-end celebration by a gay events group for being “contrary to public interest.”
While authorities have allowed a separate gay-pride event, Pink Dot, to be held since 2009, three children’s titles were withdrawn from national libraries recently -- including one based on a real-life story of two male penguins that hatched an egg at the New York Zoo -- after complaints that they weren’t “pro-family.” Books in the adult section do contain titles with homosexual themes, the National Library Board said.

Diversity, Inclusiveness

A record 26,000 pink-clad people turned up last month at Pink Dot, sponsored by companies including Google Inc. since 2010, Barclays Plc since 2012, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which became a sponsor this year.
Edward Naylor of Goldman Sachs and John McGuinness of Barclays said their banks supported events like Pink Dot as part of their commitment to diversity and inclusive workplaces.
“Attracting, retaining and motivating people from diverse backgrounds, including people of all sexual orientations, is essential to our success,” Naylor said.
“Barclays is committed to a culture of meritocracy, where people are judged on professional performance rather than their personal lives,” McGuinness said.
Robin Moroney, a spokesman for Google, referred to the company’s comment in a May Pink Dotannouncement that encouraging diversity “can lead to brilliant and inspiring ideas.”
The cases are Lim Meng Suang v Attorney-General, CA54/2013. Tan Eng Hong v Attorney-General, CA125/2013. Singapore Court of Appeal.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Tan in Singapore at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.netTerje Langeland

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