In his paper titled "Equal Justice Under The Constitution And Section 377A Under The Penal Code" published online by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL), former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong opined that the law was outdated and needed to be reviewed.

Chan explained that the current wordings and provisions of S377A fail the reasonableness test set out for a case in 2015. The contention was that the wording may be perceived to be discriminatory against men who commit acts of gross indecency in public.

This led Chan to conclude that S377A is a violation of Article 12(1) of the Constitution. 

Three people have filed court challenges against the constitutionality of S377A and they will be heard in court in November. They include LGBT-rights activist and Pink Dot pioneer, Dr Roy Tan, former executive director of LGBT group Oogachaga Bryan Choong Chee Hong, and DJ Johnson Ong Ming. In particular, Dr Tan is leveraging on the views of former Justices such as Chan, Walter Woon, V K Rajah, as well as current Deputy Attorney-General, Hri Kumar, for his case.

Chan is one of an increasingly long list of former and current government officials and legal personalities who have voiced out against S377A and questioned its validity.

Lee Hsien Yang (LHY), the younger brother of PM Lee Hsien Loong, and his family members, are known supporters of the LGBTQ community. LHY's son, Li Huanwu, and his husband, Heng Yirui, is a part of the LGBT community. The family graced the latest iteration of Pink Dot earlier in June this year.

In September this year, Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh, also called for the repeal of S377A, and urged the LGBT community to bring a class action to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

Before that, in 2018, former AGs Woon and Rajah, asserted their views that the selective enforcement of S377A undermines the rule of law.

Indeed, the voice against S377A has gained greater gravitas and credibility with the show of support from esteemed and highly regarded personalities such as Woon, Rajah, LHY, Koh and now Chan. 

It will be increasingly difficult for the court and the government to maintain status quo.

It is a matter of time before S377A is repealed.

Will religious and anti-LGBT groups come around to this or will they continue their opposition to the liberal voices?

What are the implications for Singapore?

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