Referendum on the repeal of Section 377A of Singapore penal code

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For years, Singapore's gay community have been forced to lead a double life. They face criminal charges for engaging in anal intercourse under Section 377A of the republic's Penal Code (henceforth referred to as §377A). This particular legislation was imposed by the British colonial authorities who gave Singapore a modified version of the Indian penal code. Singapore became independent in 1965. Since then, London has allowed same-sex marriage and India has lifted the ban on sexual relations between men. The Singapore government claims §377A is still necessary but will not be actively enforced. It has struck out constitutional challenges by the legal fraternity to abolish this legislation. The buck has been passed from the legislature (Parliament) to the judiciary (Supreme Court) and back. If the branches of government cannot make a decision on such a contentious piece of legislation, what better solution is there than to let the common people make the decision themselves, since the latter are the most affected ones. Singapore's constitution claims to endorse democracy. There is nothing more convincing than direct democracy. The people should have a certain degree of maturity to make informed decisions on major issues such as §377A. Let the future of §377A be decided by the citizens of Singapore once and for all. Having said, it is imperative that the government of Singapore conduct a referendum on whether or not §377A should remain on the statute books. The sooner it is held, the better it is. By dragging its feet, the government is not doing any favours for anybody whatsoever.


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