Laws

SINGAPORE

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Access to Children
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Age of Consent
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
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Censorship
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Custody of Children
Discrimination
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Free Speech
Gender Identity
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  Hate Crimes
HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
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Marriage
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Parenting
Property
Sodomy
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
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Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation
Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 22 March 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled in ACB v. Thomson Medical that opposite sex parents have a strong interest in ''genetic affinity'' with their children, one that can merit compensation if subverted. ''Genetic affinity'' is an entirely new legal standard and whether it would be applied in a similar same-sex case is yet to be decided [R1.1].

C1.2 Judgment: ACB v Thomson Medical PTE LTD & 3 Others [2017] SGCA 20 PDF 830.00kb 22 MAR 17
R1.1 TheConversation: In a world first, Singapore’s highest court rules that parents deserve kids with their genes 03 APR 17
Censorship, Freedom of Association, Free Speech, Right of Assembly Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [DISCRIMINATION]
1.

National

On 21 October 2016, the government reportedly banned foreign companies from funding an annual gay pride rally as part of new rules governing protests, limiting those allowed to sponsor or participate in activities at Speakers' Corner to citizens, organisations and companies from Singapore [R1.7].

On 15 July 2016, the Parliament passed the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill, Section 3 of which details what constitutes contempt of court. Publishing material deemed to interfere with ongoing court proceedings could be considered contempt. This could include posting comments publicly on social media [L1.6], [R1.5].

On 01 June 2013, the new Media Development Authority (MDA) rule requires local news websites and those that report regularly on Singapore and get at least 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore over two months, to apply for an individual license and prohibits those sites from having content 'material [that] advocates homosexuality or lesbianism, or depicts or promotes incest, pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia' [R1.4].

In February 2011, Film Censors announced its decision to not only rate The Kids Are All Right R21, but also confined it to one print for the whole of Singapore, effectively making it impossible to screen the movie at more than one cinema at a time. The censors claim the film "normalises" the "homosexual lifestyle" [R1.3].

In April 2008, Singapore City's State Regulator fined a television station £5000 for featuring a gay couple in way that makes them look 'normal' [R1.2].

In September 1996, Internet service providers were given a deadline of September 14 to funnel customers' Internet connections through special filtering sites that will block access to a wide variety of sites outside of Singapore, including those with contents that "depict or propagate sexual perversions such as homosexuality, lesbianism and paedophilia" [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 04 March 2015, Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean found Au Wai Pang in contempt of court, ordering him to pay 8,000 Singapore dollars (US$5,845) for wrting on the Yawning Bread site that the high court engaged in “strange calendaring” in scheduling the hearing two constitutional challenges to the city-state's ban on gay sex [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.7 NDTV: Singapore Bans Foreign Funding Of Gay Pride Rally 21 OCT 16
L1.6 Bill: Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill No. 23/2016 PDF 231.87kb 11 JUL 16 (Accesed 17 AUG 16)
R1.5 ZDNet: Singapore passes contempt of court law amid much controversy 16 AUG 16
R1.4 GayStarNews: New web censorship rule bans gay content in Singapore 30 MAY 13
R1.3 fridæ: What's more terrifying than (gay) sex? (Gay) Family 21 FEB 11
R1.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Television Company Fined for Making Gays Look 'normal' 24 APR 08
R1.1 Adelaide Gay Times: Singapore Internet Censorship Hits Gays 13 SEP 96
C2.2 Judgment: Attorney General v. Au Wai Pang [2015] SGHC 15 PDF 356.89kb, 21 JAN 15
R2.1 abcNEWS: Singapore Court Fines Blogger for Comments on Gay Sex Cases 05 MAR 15
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In April 2004, the Singapore government reportedly denied freedom of association to a gay rights group People Like Us and warned it to halt all activities [R1.3]. In 1998, it was denied registration with the government's Registrar of Societies.

In July 2003, the Government was reportedly openly employing gays, even in sensitive jobs, although homosexual acts remain an offence [R1.2].

As at July 2001, gays and lesbians had no legal protection against employment discrimination on grounds of their sexuality [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 29 May 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the 26 December 2013 ruling of Justice Woo Bih Li and dismissed Mr Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San's bid to claim an unspecified amount in damages for constructive dismissal, ruling that his claim was without basis. Mr Wee, 40, was also ordered to pay S$20,000 in legal costs [R2.5].

On 21 April 2014, Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San withdrew his Supreme Court application to declare unconstitutional discrimination at work on the basis of “sexual orientation” [R2.4].

On 26 December 2013, Justice Woo Bih Li in the Supreme Court dismissed the discrimination in employment appeal of Wee Kim San Lawrence Bernard [C2.3].

On 07 October 2013, it was reported that the Singapore High Court would hear an application in November in a test case on whether LGBTs are protected from discrimination in employment after Lawrence Wee Kim San Bernard, an executive at Robinsons department store, was fired after his bosses discovered he was gay [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.3 The Advocate: Singapore Denies Rights to Gay Group 07 APR 04
IGLHRC: 1997 Year in Review 02 JAN 98
R1.2 Sydney Morning Herald: Singapore Letting Gays Halfway Out of the Closet 05 JUL 03
R1.1 Reuters: Singapore Gays Find Tacit Acceptance, Some Seek More 01 JUL 01
R2.5 ChannelNewsAsia: Court dismisses man's bid against workplace homosexual discrimination 29 MAY 14
R2.4 GayStarNews: Gay workplace discrimination case dropped in Singapore 24 APR 14
C2.3 Judgment: Wee Kim San Lawrence Bernard v Robinson & Co (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2013] SGHC 279, 26 DEC 13
C2.2 Lawrence Bernard Wee Kim San v. Robinsons & Co (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2013] SGHC 279
R2.1 GayStarNews: Singapore courts to decide on LGBT workplace discrimination 07 OCT 13
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In January 1996, the government announced that post operative transsexuals would be free to marry people of the opposite sex [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: Annual Report 1996 96
HIV, Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 31 August 2015, the Ministry of Health was reported to have said that the two-decade-long ban on HIV-infected people entering the country was lifted on 01 April. Foreigners with HIV may now visit for up to three months but will still be prevented from staying long term or working in the city-state [R1.2].

In February 2000, Singaporean authorities said the island state will require all expatriates and long-term visitors to pass medical examinations before they are granted permits to work or live there, from March [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 18 January 2012, an HIV-positive man was reportedly sentenced to 18 months jail for failing to inform another man of his status before they had sex. The Infectious Diseases Act was amended in 2008 to increase the maximum punishment to a jail term of ten years and a S$50,000 fine [R2.1].

R1.2 TheGuardian: Singapore lifts ban on HIV-positive visitors 31 AUG 15
R1.1 Melbourne Star Observer: Compulsory HIV Test for Singapore 03 MAR 00
R2.1 TodayOnline: Man jailed for not telling partner he had HIV 24 JAN 12

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Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 01 February 2008, the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2007, No. 51 came into force, repealing Section 377: Unnatural Offences. Section 377A remains extant [L1.5], [R1.6]

Chapter XVI. Offences Affecting the Human Body. Sexual Offences

Section 377A: Outrages on Decency

"Any male person who, in public or private, commits or abets the commission of or procures the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years" [L1.5].


Chapter XIV: Offences Affecting the Public Tranquility, Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals [L1.5]

Section 294: Obscene songs

"Whoever, to the annoyance of others —

(a) does any obscene act in any public place; or

(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place,

shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months, or with fine, or with both.


On 18 February 2013, Singapore's law minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam affirmed to an influential Christian group that while Singapore will not repeal the anti-sodomy law that criminalizes gay sex, it would not enforce it [R1.3].

In October 2007, a bill was introduced which would, if passed, decriminalise oral and anal sex between heterosexuals [R1.2].

In October 2007, the Singapore government declared that private, consensual, adult homosexual sex would no longer be prosecuted but that its illegality would remain [R2.2].

In July 2001, it was not illegal to be gay or lesbian in Singapore, but homosexual sex acts are illegal and can land people in jail – even if they take place in private [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 29 October 2014, Judge Andrew Phang Boon Leong for the Court of Appeal upheld Section 377A of the Penal Code that makes consensual sex between men unlawful as complying with the constitutional right of equality [C2.22], [R2.21].

On 10 October 2013, the Court of Appeal agreed to hear appeals in the cases of “Tan Eng Hong v. Attorney General” and “Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee v. The Attorney General”, challenging the constitutionality of the controversial Section 377A anti-gay law [R2.20].

On 02 October 2013, High Court Justice Quentin Loh released a judgment in the Constitutional challenge of statute 377A of the Singapore Penal Code in Tan Eng Hong v. Attorney General, upholding the law which criminalises sex between men and provides a jail term of up to two years [C2.19], [R2.18].

On 10 April 2013, the High Court dismissed two legal challenges in which plaintiffs gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Che sought to have the country's anti-gay sex law declared unconstitutional [R2.17].

On 14 February 2013, Justice Quentin Loh in chambers heard the case of Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee v. The Attorney General OS 1135/2012 – seeking an order that Section 377A of the Penal Code is void by virtue of Article 4 of the Constitution. Judgment was reserved [C2.16], [R2.15].

On 30 November 2012, gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee filed a constitutional challenge in the High Court aimed at repealing Section 377A, the long-standing law that criminalizes gay sex [R2.14].

On 21 August 2012, the Court of Appeal, presided by Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, Judge of Appeal V K Rajah and Justice Judith Prakash, said in a 106-page judgement that they found that Tan Eng Hong had an arguable case on the constitutionality of Section 377A that ought to be heard in the High Court [C2.13], [R2.12].

On 27 September 2011, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision in Tan Eng Hong's appeal challenging the constitutionality of Section 377A of the Penal Code that prohibits sexual relations between men, to be delivered on a later date [R2.11].

On 27 September 2011, the Court of Appeal was expected to hear Tan Eng Hong's appeal challenging the constitutionality of Section 377A of the Penal Code that prohibits sexual relations between men [R2.10].

Previously:

On 15 March 2011, the High Court High Court judge Lai Siu Chiu dismissed the first appeal relating to the constitutional challenge against Section 377A of the Penal Code [C2.9], [R2.8].

On 14 December 2010, Tan Eng Hong was fined S$3,000 by a district court for performing fellatio on another man in a public toilet in Citylink Mall under Section 294A of the Penal Code [R2.7].

On 08 December 2010, the High Court of Singapore rejected an application filed by lawyer M Ravi who sought to challenge the constitutionality of Section 377A of the Penal Code that prohibits sexual relations between men [R2.6].

On 10 November 2010, 40-year-old Chin Chee Shyong was convicted under Section 294 of the Penal Code for having oral sex with another man in a shopping mall toilet cubicle on March 9 [R2.5].

On 24 September 2010, lawyer M Ravi filed an application in the High Court to challenge the legality of Section 377A of the Penal Code. A hearing will be fixed for the Court to rule whether the law should be deemed unconstitutional if the act is between consenting adults [R2.4]. The hearing was fixed for 07 December 2010 [R2.3].


The Singapore Court of Appeal found that penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary for the offence in [the now repealed] Section 377 . It has also been found that in certain circumstances oral sex contravened the section. Other forms of genital contact would be sufficient to found a charge of gross indecency [Citation required].


In April 2008, the City State Regulator fined a television station £5000 for featuring a gay couple in way that makes them look 'normal' [R2.2].


In February 1997, an appeals court ruled oral sex is illegal in the island state unless it is as a prelude to full heterosexual intercourse [R2.1].

R1.6 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 09
Interpol: Sexual offences against children
(Accessed 26 SEP 10)
L1.5 Singapore Statutes Online: Penal Code Chapter 224 (Chapter XVI Offences Affecting the Human Body) 15 MAY 09 (Accessed 31 MAY 09)
R1.3 GayStarNews: Singapore law minister: we won't repeal anti-gay sex law 18 FEB 13
R1.2 MCV: Anal Sex Ok For Straights 01 NOV 07
R1.1 Reuters: Singapore Gays Find Tacit Acceptance, Some Seek More 01 JUL 01
C2.22 Judgment: Lim Meng Suang v Attorney-General and Tan Eng Hong v Attorney-General [2014] SGCA 53 PDF 2.13MB, 29 OCT 14
R2.21 Reuters: Singapore upholds law that criminalizes gay sex 29 OCT 14
R2.20 Yahoo! Singapore: Court of Appeal allows anti-gay law challenges to be heard 11 OCT 13
C2.19 Judgment: Tan Eng Hong v. Attorney-General [2013] SGHC 199 PDF 303.70kb, 02 OCT 13
R2.18 fridae: Singapore High Court upholds anti-gay law in Tan Eng Hong's case 02 OCT 13
R2.17 fridæ: Singapore High Court upholds anti-gay sex law 10 APR 13
C2.16 Lim Meng Suang & Anor (Peter Low LLC) (Peter Low/Choo Zhengxi) v. Attorney General (The Attorney-General's Chambers) (Aedit Abdullah SC/Jeremy Yeo) OS 1135/2012
R2.15 GayStarNews: Singapore couple goes to court to abolish anti-gay sex law 14 FEB 13
R2.14 The Vancouver Sun: Gay couple file challenge to Singapore law that criminalizes gay sex 30 NOV 12
C2.13 Judgment: Tan Eng Hong and Attorney General Civil Appeal No 50 of 2011/T, [2012] SGCA 45 PDF 489.09kb, 21 AUG 12
R2.12 ChannelNewsAsia: High Court set to hear case on law criminalising gay sex 21 AUG 12
R2.11 The Straits Times: Judgment reserved on constitutional challenge to gay law 28 SEP 11
R2.10 fridæ: Singapore Court of Appeal to hear section 377A constitutional challenge application 26 SEP 11
C2.9 High Court of Singapore: In the Matter of Articles 4, 9, 12 and 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore [2011] SGHC 56, PDF 571.87kb, 15 MAR 11
R2.8 fridæ: Singapore High Court dismisses appeal seeking constitutional challenge against Section 377A 21 MAR 11
R2.7 fridæ: Man fined S$3,000 for sex act in public 16 DEC 10
R2.6 fridæ: Singapore court disallows constitutional challenge against gay sex law 08 DEC 10
R2.5 fridæ: Singapore: Man fined S$3,000 for oral sex in public toilet 10 NOV 10
R2.4 TODAYonline: Lawyer challenges gay sex law 24 SEP 10
R2.3 fridæ: The 377A hide-and-seek 11 NOV 10
R2.2 PinkNews.co.uk: Television Company Fined for Making Gays Look 'normal' 24 APR 08
R2.1 Capital Q: Ban on Oral Sex 28 FEB 97
Military Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In July 2001, self-declared gay men in the military were reportedly relegated to administrative or logistics work [R1.1].

R1.1 Reuters: Singapore Gays Find Tacit Acceptance, Some Seek More 01 JUL 01
ParentingLegislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 22 March 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled in ACB v. Thomson Medical that opposite sex parents have a strong interest in ''genetic affinity'' with their children, one that can merit compensation if subverted. ''Genetic affinity'' is an entirely new legal standard and whether it would be applied in a similar same-sex case is yet to be decided [R1.1].

C1.2 Judgment: ACB v Thomson Medical PTE LTD & 3 Others [2017] SGCA 20 PDF 830.00kb 22 MAR 17
R1.1 TheConversation: In a world first, Singapore’s highest court rules that parents deserve kids with their genes 03 APR 17
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Victimisation, VilificationLegislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 04 November 2016, a Singapore Court fined Bryan Lim Sian Yang $2,500 after he pleading guilty to ''making a threatening, abusive or insulting communication under the Protection from Harassment Act'' in an 04 June Facebook post in which he asked for ''permission to open fire'' on the LGBT community. He was originally charged with ''encouraging violence against the LGBT community'', an offense that could have landed him a maximum of five years in jail plus a fine [R1.4].

On 10 October 2016, the Court of Appeal imposed a 10-year goal sentence on F2M transgender Zunika Ahmad, who is biologically female, for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl [R1.3].

On 28 September 2016, the Court of Appeal ruled that both men and women can be found guilty of the offence of sexual penetration of minors. Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said on behalf of the three-judge panel that Section 376A of the Penal Code is ''gender-neutral and capable of applying to a female offender''. The Court overturned Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu's decision to acquit F2M transgender Zunika Ahmad, reinstating his conviction [R1.1].

R1.4 fridae: Singaporean man fined $2,500 for anti-gay Facebook post 09 NOV 16
R1.3 BBCnews: Singapore landmark ruling in transgender child abuse case 10 OCT 16
C1.2 Case: Zunika Ahmad
R1.1 Today: Sexual assault law is gender-neutral, applicable to female offenders: Chief Justice 29 SEP 16

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