September 25, 2022

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Singapore high court upholds law criminalising gay sex

in reflecting public sentiment and beliefs” in the city-state – despite it being rarely enforced.

Under Section 377A, men found guilty of homosexual acts in public or private can be jailed for up to two years.

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Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Bryan Choong, one of the three men who challenged the law, said he was disappointed by the ruling. “But my eyes are firmly on the road ahead,” he told Reuters.

A lawyer for one of the other complaints described the ruling as “arbitrary” and “shocking to the conscience”.

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1/50 2 April 2020

A City Hall health official wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at the entrance of City One condominium as the residential building was placed under lockdown after 17 cases of COVID-19 were detected, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
EPA

2/50 1 April 2020

Migrant workers wait on marked areas on the ground to maintain social distancing as they queue to receive food packets at an industrial area during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Chennai
AFP via Getty

3/50 31 March 2020

Wedding dress and evening wear designer Friederike Jorzig adjusts a mannequin wearing a wedding dress with matching protective mask in her store Chiton in Berlin
AFP via Getty

4/50 30 March 2020

A stray dog walks in front of an empty historic India Gate, as nationwide lockdown continues over the coronavirus in New Delhi, India
Getty

5/50 29 March 2020

A man watches a TV screen showing a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul
AP

6/50 28 March 2020

Hong Kong’s skyline is seen with some of its lights turned off to mark the Earth Hour, an environmental campaign
AFP/Getty

7/50 27 March 2020

Ukrainian citizens queue at the Polish-Ukrainian border during the coronavirus pandemic in Korczowa, Poland. On 13 March, Poland closed its borders due to the ongoing pandemic of the Covid-19 and has extended the measure until at least 11 April
EPA

8/50 26 March 2020

Tenon hospital emergency services staff members gesture during a break, on March 26, 2020 in Paris, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
AFP via Getty

9/50 25 March 2020

Aerial view showing almost empty streets in Bogota, taken during the lockdown ordered by the government to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus
AFP via Getty

10/50 24 March 2020

Staff members line up to attention as they prepare to spray disinfectant at Wuhan Railway Station. China announced that a lockdown would be lifted on more than 50 million people in central Hubei province where the Covid-19 coronavirus first emerged late last year
AFP via Getty

11/50 23 March 2020

A public order agency officer sprays disinfectant over a woman before she enters a local government office as a precautionary move against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Surabaya
AFP via Getty

12/50 22 March 2020

Boys wearing protective and N95 masks play with a football outside their homes in Gaza City
AFP via Getty

13/50 21 March 2020

A woman standing on her balcony reaches out to catch a rose delivered to her via a drone on Mother’s day, in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus. In a quiet Lebanese town under lockdown over the novel coronavirus, a drone buzzed towards a balcony on Saturday to deliver a red rose to a mother grinning in surprise. The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on Mother’s Day this year, but three students have come up with a novel service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions
AFP via Getty

14/50 20 March 2020

Newlyweds Diego Fernandes, 46 and Deni Salgado, 30, kiss through protective face masks at a wedding ceremony with only witnesses and no guests, as public gatherings are banned as part of Italy’s lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Naples
Reuters

15/50 19 March 2020

Members of a medical assistance team from Jiangsu province chant slogans at a ceremony marking their departure after helping with the Covid-19 coronavirus recovery effort, in Wuhan. Medical teams from across China began leaving Wuhan this week after the number of new coronavirus infections dropped. China on reported no new domestic cases for the first time since it started recording them in January, but recorded a spike in infections from abroad
AFP via Getty

16/50 18 March 2020

Sri Lankan police wear face masks a rehearsal parade in Colombo
AFP via Getty

17/50 17 March 2020

Divers clean and swipe the floor and walls of a pool at an aquatic complex in Medellin after the closure of all sporting venues in Colombia as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19
AFP via Getty

18/50 16 March 2020

Workers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus at the Mubarikiya market following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Kuwait City
EPA

19/50 15 March 2020

People gather with their belongings at the scene of the fire outbreak at Abule-Ado in Lagos, Nigeria
Reuters

20/50 14 March 2020

A man feeds pidgeons at Cataluna Square in Barcelona
EPA

21/50 13 March 2020

A mosso de esquadra police officer stands on the closed off road near Igualada, Spain. Over 60,000 people awoke Friday in four towns near Barcelona confined to their homes and with police blocking roads. The order by regional authorities in Catalonia is Spain’s first mandatory lockdown as Covid-19 coronavirus infections increase sharply
AP

22/50 12 March 2020

Italian mechanics Giacomo and Alessandro pose at their garage in Rome, as Italy shut all stores except for pharmacies and food shops in a desperate bid to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 827 in the the country in just over two weeks
AFP via Getty

23/50 11 March 2020

Monks pray for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster during a memorial service on the coast in Iwaki, Fukushima. Japan marked the ninth anniversary of the killer tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, but fears about the new coronavirus forced a scaling back of public commemorations
Jiji Press/AFP via Getty

24/50 10 March 2020

Revellers dance as they celebrate Holi, the spring festival of colours in Allahabad
AFP/Getty

25/50 9 March 2020

Medical staff celebrate after all patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China
AFP/Getty

26/50 8 March 2020

A hundred members of the conservative activist group called Manif pour Tous (“Protest for Everyone”) dressed as Marianne, French Republic’s allegory, stage a protest against assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy in front of the National Assembly in Paris, France
AFP/Getty

27/50 7 March 2020

A migrant man runs away as another one takes cover behind a bin as Greek police use water cannons to block them trying to break fences in the Turkey-Greece border province of Edirne
AFP/Getty

28/50 6 March 2020

Police and forensic experts inspect the scene of an explosion near the US embassy in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia
AFP/Getty

29/50 5 March 2020

Migrants prepare for the coming night in a forest in the buffer zone at the Turkey-Greece border a crossing point
AFP/Getty

30/50 4 March 2020

A migrant rests with a child in his arms next to the Tunca river in Edirne, Turkey
Reuters

31/50 3 March 2020

Spanish policemen and civil guards sporting Guy Fawkes masks protest in front of Spanish policemen standing guard during a demonstration to demand fair wages in Madrid
AFP via Getty

32/50 2 March 2020

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a market in Daegu
Yonhap/AFP via Getty

33/50 1 March 2020

A woman shouts as law enforcement officials move in to disperse a group of immigrants who had occupied a historic church and a square. They are demanding to be moved to another country as they claim to feel not safe because of xenophobic attacks in central Cape Town, South Africa
Reuters

34/50 29 February 2020

Greek border guard use teargas to push back migrants who try to enter Greece at the Pazarkule border gate in Edirne, Turkey
AP

35/50 28 February 2020

A woman makes her way and NGO’s members help as a dinghy with 54 Afghan refugees lands ashore the Greek island of Lesbos. Turkey will no longer close its border gates to refugees who want to go to Europe, a senior official told AFP, shortly after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike in northern Syria
AFP via Getty Images

36/50 27 February 2020

Snow has fallen in high ground in Tasmania during the Australian summer
Tasmanian Rover Ski Club / Facebook

37/50 26 February 2020

Men ride a motorcycle past security forces patrolling a street in a riot-affected area of Delhi on Wednesday
Reuters

38/50 25 February 2020

Workers disinfect subway trains against coronavirus in Tehran, Iran
AP

39/50 24 February 2020

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters fire their anti-aircraft gun in the town of Sarmin, about 8 kilometres southeast of the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, as they take part in a military offensive on the village of Nayrab following an artillery barrage fired by Turkish forces
AFP via Getty

40/50 23 February 2020

A security guard wearing a protective face mask stand guard as masked and costumed people walk by during the Carnival in Venice, Italy
EPA

41/50 22 February 2020

People dressed in traditional Czech folklore costumes parade through the village of Vortova near the east Bohemian city of Pardubice during the traditional Masopust carnival. The festival marks the beginning of Lent. This folk tradition of the carnival parade of masks was registered in the UNESCO List of the Intagible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010
Getty

42/50 21 February 2020

An Iranian woman wearing a face mask shows her inked finger after casting her ballot at a polling station set up at the Abdol Azim shrine during the parliamentary elections in Shahr-e-Ray, Tehran Province, Iran. Iranians are heading to the polls to elect their representatives to the Islamic Consultative Assembly amid a worsening economic crisis and escalating tensions with the US
EPA

43/50 20 February 2020

Roger Stone, former advisor to US President Donald Trump arrives at court prior to his sentencing hearing. Trump’s longtime aide will be sentenced in a case that has caused a stir in Washington following meddling by the US president and his attorney general. Stone, one of the Republican leader’s allies and “oldest friends,” was convicted in November of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to cheat in the 2016 election
AFP via Getty

44/50 19 February 2020

Members of the Kazakh Emergencies Ministry take cover during a controlled explosion triggering an avalanche for public safety in the Tien Shan mountains outside Almaty, Kazakhstan
Reuters

45/50 18 February 2020

Women chant slogans during a demonstration against gender violence outside the National Palace, in Mexico City. Dozens of women protested over the murder of a seven-year-old girl in the Mexican capital, a case that generated anger and outrage. The murder of the minor shocked the country two days after hundreds of women protested in several cities in Mexico over the femicide of Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old woman who was killed by her partner north of the Mexican capital
AFP via Getty

46/50 17 February 2020

People gather at the site of a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan
Reuters

47/50 16 February 2020

Dogs wearing masks are seen at a main shopping area, in downtown Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus
REUTERS

48/50 15 February 2020

Men dressed in loincloths prepare to snatch a wooden stick called “shingi” tossed by the priest during a naked festival at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture Japan February 15, 2020. The person who grabs the wooden stick is considered the “luckiest man of the year”.
REUTERS

49/50 14 February 2020

Squirrels eat treats at a ‘Valentine’s day party’ organised for them by staff in Skopje Zoo, North Macedonia
Reuters

50/50 13 February 2020

Internally displaced children stand on snow near tents at a makeshift camp in Azaz, Syria
Reuters

1/50 2 April 2020

A City Hall health official wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at the entrance of City One condominium as the residential building was placed under lockdown after 17 cases of COVID-19 were detected, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
EPA

2/50 1 April 2020

Migrant workers wait on marked areas on the ground to maintain social distancing as they queue to receive food packets at an industrial area during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, in Chennai
AFP via Getty

3/50 31 March 2020

Wedding dress and evening wear designer Friederike Jorzig adjusts a mannequin wearing a wedding dress with matching protective mask in her store Chiton in Berlin
AFP via Getty

4/50 30 March 2020

A stray dog walks in front of an empty historic India Gate, as nationwide lockdown continues over the coronavirus in New Delhi, India
Getty

5/50 29 March 2020

A man watches a TV screen showing a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul
AP

6/50 28 March 2020

Hong Kong’s skyline is seen with some of its lights turned off to mark the Earth Hour, an environmental campaign
AFP/Getty

7/50 27 March 2020

Ukrainian citizens queue at the Polish-Ukrainian border during the coronavirus pandemic in Korczowa, Poland. On 13 March, Poland closed its borders due to the ongoing pandemic of the Covid-19 and has extended the measure until at least 11 April
EPA

8/50 26 March 2020

Tenon hospital emergency services staff members gesture during a break, on March 26, 2020 in Paris, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
AFP via Getty

9/50 25 March 2020

Aerial view showing almost empty streets in Bogota, taken during the lockdown ordered by the government to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus
AFP via Getty

10/50 24 March 2020

Staff members line up to attention as they prepare to spray disinfectant at Wuhan Railway Station. China announced that a lockdown would be lifted on more than 50 million people in central Hubei province where the Covid-19 coronavirus first emerged late last year
AFP via Getty

11/50 23 March 2020

A public order agency officer sprays disinfectant over a woman before she enters a local government office as a precautionary move against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Surabaya
AFP via Getty

12/50 22 March 2020

Boys wearing protective and N95 masks play with a football outside their homes in Gaza City
AFP via Getty

13/50 21 March 2020

A woman standing on her balcony reaches out to catch a rose delivered to her via a drone on Mother’s day, in the Lebanese coastal city of Jounieh, north of the capital Beirut, as people remain indoors in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus. In a quiet Lebanese town under lockdown over the novel coronavirus, a drone buzzed towards a balcony on Saturday to deliver a red rose to a mother grinning in surprise. The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a damper on Mother’s Day this year, but three students have come up with a novel service to celebrate the occasion without flouting social distancing restrictions
AFP via Getty

14/50 20 March 2020

Newlyweds Diego Fernandes, 46 and Deni Salgado, 30, kiss through protective face masks at a wedding ceremony with only witnesses and no guests, as public gatherings are banned as part of Italy’s lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Naples
Reuters

15/50 19 March 2020

Members of a medical assistance team from Jiangsu province chant slogans at a ceremony marking their departure after helping with the Covid-19 coronavirus recovery effort, in Wuhan. Medical teams from across China began leaving Wuhan this week after the number of new coronavirus infections dropped. China on reported no new domestic cases for the first time since it started recording them in January, but recorded a spike in infections from abroad
AFP via Getty

16/50 18 March 2020

Sri Lankan police wear face masks a rehearsal parade in Colombo
AFP via Getty

17/50 17 March 2020

Divers clean and swipe the floor and walls of a pool at an aquatic complex in Medellin after the closure of all sporting venues in Colombia as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19
AFP via Getty

18/50 16 March 2020

Workers spray disinfectant as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus at the Mubarikiya market following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Kuwait City
EPA

19/50 15 March 2020

People gather with their belongings at the scene of the fire outbreak at Abule-Ado in Lagos, Nigeria
Reuters

20/50 14 March 2020

A man feeds pidgeons at Cataluna Square in Barcelona
EPA

21/50 13 March 2020

A mosso de esquadra police officer stands on the closed off road near Igualada, Spain. Over 60,000 people awoke Friday in four towns near Barcelona confined to their homes and with police blocking roads. The order by regional authorities in Catalonia is Spain’s first mandatory lockdown as Covid-19 coronavirus infections increase sharply
AP

22/50 12 March 2020

Italian mechanics Giacomo and Alessandro pose at their garage in Rome, as Italy shut all stores except for pharmacies and food shops in a desperate bid to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 827 in the the country in just over two weeks
AFP via Getty

23/50 11 March 2020

Monks pray for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster during a memorial service on the coast in Iwaki, Fukushima. Japan marked the ninth anniversary of the killer tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, but fears about the new coronavirus forced a scaling back of public commemorations
Jiji Press/AFP via Getty

24/50 10 March 2020

Revellers dance as they celebrate Holi, the spring festival of colours in Allahabad
AFP/Getty

25/50 9 March 2020

Medical staff celebrate after all patients were discharged at a temporary hospital set up to treat people with the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan in China
AFP/Getty

26/50 8 March 2020

A hundred members of the conservative activist group called Manif pour Tous (“Protest for Everyone”) dressed as Marianne, French Republic’s allegory, stage a protest against assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy in front of the National Assembly in Paris, France
AFP/Getty

27/50 7 March 2020

A migrant man runs away as another one takes cover behind a bin as Greek police use water cannons to block them trying to break fences in the Turkey-Greece border province of Edirne
AFP/Getty

28/50 6 March 2020

Police and forensic experts inspect the scene of an explosion near the US embassy in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia
AFP/Getty

29/50 5 March 2020

Migrants prepare for the coming night in a forest in the buffer zone at the Turkey-Greece border a crossing point
AFP/Getty

30/50 4 March 2020

A migrant rests with a child in his arms next to the Tunca river in Edirne, Turkey
Reuters

31/50 3 March 2020

Spanish policemen and civil guards sporting Guy Fawkes masks protest in front of Spanish policemen standing guard during a demonstration to demand fair wages in Madrid
AFP via Getty

32/50 2 March 2020

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a market in Daegu
Yonhap/AFP via Getty

33/50 1 March 2020

A woman shouts as law enforcement officials move in to disperse a group of immigrants who had occupied a historic church and a square. They are demanding to be moved to another country as they claim to feel not safe because of xenophobic attacks in central Cape Town, South Africa
Reuters

34/50 29 February 2020

Greek border guard use teargas to push back migrants who try to enter Greece at the Pazarkule border gate in Edirne, Turkey
AP

35/50 28 February 2020

A woman makes her way and NGO’s members help as a dinghy with 54 Afghan refugees lands ashore the Greek island of Lesbos. Turkey will no longer close its border gates to refugees who want to go to Europe, a senior official told AFP, shortly after the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike in northern Syria
AFP via Getty Images

36/50 27 February 2020

Snow has fallen in high ground in Tasmania during the Australian summer
Tasmanian Rover Ski Club / Facebook

37/50 26 February 2020

Men ride a motorcycle past security forces patrolling a street in a riot-affected area of Delhi on Wednesday
Reuters

38/50 25 February 2020

Workers disinfect subway trains against coronavirus in Tehran, Iran
AP

39/50 24 February 2020

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters fire their anti-aircraft gun in the town of Sarmin, about 8 kilometres southeast of the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, as they take part in a military offensive on the village of Nayrab following an artillery barrage fired by Turkish forces
AFP via Getty

40/50 23 February 2020

A security guard wearing a protective face mask stand guard as masked and costumed people walk by during the Carnival in Venice, Italy
EPA

41/50 22 February 2020

People dressed in traditional Czech folklore costumes parade through the village of Vortova near the east Bohemian city of Pardubice during the traditional Masopust carnival. The festival marks the beginning of Lent. This folk tradition of the carnival parade of masks was registered in the UNESCO List of the Intagible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010
Getty

42/50 21 February 2020

An Iranian woman wearing a face mask shows her inked finger after casting her ballot at a polling station set up at the Abdol Azim shrine during the parliamentary elections in Shahr-e-Ray, Tehran Province, Iran. Iranians are heading to the polls to elect their representatives to the Islamic Consultative Assembly amid a worsening economic crisis and escalating tensions with the US
EPA

43/50 20 February 2020

Roger Stone, former advisor to US President Donald Trump arrives at court prior to his sentencing hearing. Trump’s longtime aide will be sentenced in a case that has caused a stir in Washington following meddling by the US president and his attorney general. Stone, one of the Republican leader’s allies and “oldest friends,” was convicted in November of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to cheat in the 2016 election
AFP via Getty

44/50 19 February 2020

Members of the Kazakh Emergencies Ministry take cover during a controlled explosion triggering an avalanche for public safety in the Tien Shan mountains outside Almaty, Kazakhstan
Reuters

45/50 18 February 2020

Women chant slogans during a demonstration against gender violence outside the National Palace, in Mexico City. Dozens of women protested over the murder of a seven-year-old girl in the Mexican capital, a case that generated anger and outrage. The murder of the minor shocked the country two days after hundreds of women protested in several cities in Mexico over the femicide of Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old woman who was killed by her partner north of the Mexican capital
AFP via Getty

46/50 17 February 2020

People gather at the site of a bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan
Reuters

47/50 16 February 2020

Dogs wearing masks are seen at a main shopping area, in downtown Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus
REUTERS

48/50 15 February 2020

Men dressed in loincloths prepare to snatch a wooden stick called “shingi” tossed by the priest during a naked festival at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture Japan February 15, 2020. The person who grabs the wooden stick is considered the “luckiest man of the year”.
REUTERS

49/50 14 February 2020

Squirrels eat treats at a ‘Valentine’s day party’ organised for them by staff in Skopje Zoo, North Macedonia
Reuters

50/50 13 February 2020

Internally displaced children stand on snow near tents at a makeshift camp in Azaz, Syria
Reuters

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has previously said that society in Singapore “is not that liberal on these matters”.

Previous attempts to repeal the legislation in 2014 also failed after a gay couple’s challenge was dismissed by Singapore’s Court of Appeal.

The latest efforts to decriminalise gay sex came after a prominent Singapore diplomat urged campaigners to challenge the city-state’s law following the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to strike down similar legislation in 2018.

Law minister K. Shanmugam said a “growing minority” were in favour of repealing the law, with polls in Singapore suggesting that societal attitudes towards homosexuality have softened in recent years.

Section 377A was first introduced in 1938 by British colonial rulers, though Singapore’s leaders have repeatedly refused to remove it.

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In Monday’s ruling, Judge See Kee Oon said that non-enforcement of the law did not render it redundant.

The court concluded the legislation was constitutional because it did not violate articles regarding equality and freedom of speech.

Same-sex relations remain illegal in 70 countries around the world, with a large number of these countries in Africa.

Many of the states criminalising gay sex are Commonwealth countries and continue to enforce legislation adopted under British colonial rule.

In 2018, former British prime minister Theresa May said she deeply regretted the country’s role and “the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today”.

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