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Justify why gay acts should remain criminal

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 1, 2007

This is a letter written by one of our writers, Choo Zheng Xi, to the Straits Times forum page. The letter is published on May 1, 2007

I REFER to the letter from Ms Agnes Chai, ‘Are homosexuals truly born gay?’ (ST, April 27).

I think this question would be more accurately put to the proponents of Section 377: In the absence of any proof as to the nature of homosexuality, what justifies the potential imprisonment of homosexuals? Shouldn’t those who want to keep it on the books instead be made to justify its continued existence?

Proponents of 377 claim that homosexuality is a question of choice, not nature. Hence, it is unnatural, and should therefore be criminalised.

Ms Chai’s article cites the inconclusive results of recent studies surrounding the nature-nurture debate as reason to keep 377 on the books. If anything, these inconclusive results should be a strong warning against us making any assertions as to what is natural and what is not.

Even if we were to concede that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, this doesn’t have a bearing one way or the other on the question of criminalisation. The autonomy to make lifestyle choices should be respected as a right in itself, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of another member of the public (or the public in general).

The late Herbert Hart, professor of jurisprudence at Oxford University, highlighted that clear harm to society should be proven before criminalising homosexuality because it involves the potential incarceration, and limits the actions, of individuals. Section 377’s provision for life imprisonment is a sword of Damocles that is no less draconian for its infrequent use.

Decriminalising homosexuality in no way sends a signal of approval; what it does is affirm Parliament’s respect for individuals as their own moral agents.

Granted, individual liberty can be understandably constrained to prevent harm to society. However, homosexuality harms no one, but its criminalisation casts a pall over a significant section of society. On balance, Section 377 should be abolished.

Choo Zheng Xi


9 Responses to “Justify why gay acts should remain criminal”

  1. David said

    This is very true — I think MM Lee Kuan Yew made a very enlightened point, when he raised the issue of whether homosexuality is an innate trait one is born with, and how this would be grounds for decriminalising it.

  2. Sam said


    Even if it’s inherited or “has to do with the genes”, I do not think it justifies criminalising it. After all, do gay people go out and rob and kill and murder because of their gayness?

    Personally, I feel it’s time the govt stop being hypocrites.

  3. The number of gays and other social ills reflect the moral standard of a country. If we compare the percentage of gays to those in India, we have a high percentage of gays. If we compare it with Thailand, Thailand might be way ahead of us. They have gay beauty contest, gay bars etc etc. Thailand is therefore in a mess because of these also.

    Are we going to follow others because this is the trend ?

    We need not have to criminalise homosexuality but can treat it as a mental illness. Only those who provide services for a fee have to be treated as prostitutes and criminalised. The penal should be changed to conform to this.

    From primary schools and secondary schools, the teachers and principals should counsel those who behave like homosexual. The way to reform them is to get them to do meditation especially my type of meditation.
    See . .

  4. Let’s end this disgraceful criminalisation. Regardless of our personal views on homosexuality, the state should step back and not interfere in private matters.

  5. CZX said

    Quite right. The purpose of me writing this article was to highlight that we seem to have misplaced the real center of gravity of the 377 debate. It isn’t a question of morally condoning or condemning (this is something we can do quite independent of legislation). Rather, we should place the burden of proof firmly where it belongs: on those who would keep it a criminal offence.

    Let’s not allow them to divert the issue into one where both camps make unprovable assertions or value judgments that end in stalemate: let’s make them justify why it should be a judgment the state steps in to make. In the absence of any convincing reasons, decriminalize.

  6. Ned Stark said

    “They have gay beauty contest, gay bars etc etc. Thailand is therefore in a mess because of these also.’

    erm i think Thailand is in a mess because of the state of politics in that country; it has nothing to do with there being gays and all. I do not think Thaksin and the ruling military are gay in anyway.

    “We need not have to criminalise homosexuality but can treat it as a mental illness”

    And why should it be treated as a mental illness?

    1) If homosexuality is proven to be innate and the study by APA is true, then homosexuality is innate and not a mental illness.

    2) Even if it is a choice, as long as u dun get raped by a homosexual, then i guess there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, the orientation of a person, if it be choosable, is that person’s business. It is none of yours and definitely none of mine until he forces someone to engage in anal sex with him; and that is an offence under the Penal Code known as rape, and not under the current 377A.

    I therefore put it to you that there is no basis for criminalisation and many merely look for excuses to justify their bigoted views.

  7. Depression is a mental illness. Compulsive stealing is also a mental illness. Doctors do not want to classify many illnesses as mental is because people look down on mental patient. Nowadays many primary students have to consult psychiatrists for their illness.

    All these are signs society is decaying. If we let casinos, homosexual activities, pornographic publications to do their business as per normal, we might be just like Thailand.

    Study or research is flawed if they say white chick produces white chick, black chick produces black chick, so how can normal parents produce homosexual ?

    If homosexuals provide sex services for a fee, are they not prostitutes ? Therefore these homosexuals should be charged for prostitution. .

  8. David said

    Studies indicate that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime. The median number of partners for homosexuals is four times higher than for heterosexuals. A study on the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals, published in the Journal of Sex Research, found that only 2.7 percent claimed to have had sex with one partner only. Research has also found that few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.”

    The following. for example, was published in Lambada:

    24 percent of gay men had more than 100 partners.
    43 percent of gay men had more than 500 partners.
    28 percent of gay men had more than 1,000 partners.

    Solid, irrefutable evidence proves that there are lethal consequences to engaging in the defining features of male homosexuality—that is, promiscuity. Active homosexuals are vulnerable to dozens of sexually transmitted diseases. According to one report, the risk of anal cancer rises by an astounding 4,000 percent for those engaging in homosexual intercourse and doubles again for those who are HIV positive.

    AIDS remains the fifth leading cause of death among those aged 26 to 44, and 60 percent of new cases are contracted by men who have sex with men.7 Despite the twenty-year “safe-sex” campaign, the incidence of unsafe sexual practices resulting in various diseases is on the rise. An estimated 30 percent of all 20-year-old homosexual men will be HIV positive or dead by the age of 30.

    Studies have also found that while homosexuals may be trying to convince themselves that what they are doing is acceptable, they have serious doubts in their hearts. A Columbia University study on “internalized homophobia” among homosexual persons found that a significant percentage of homosexuals surveyed held negative attitudes toward their own homosexuality and toward other homosexuals.

    While there are some who would promote the myth that homosexual relationships are no different than heterosexual ones as pure fact, there are also those from the gay community who admit it to be a false statement. Andrew Sullivan, a prominent conservative gay author, says that gay couples adhere to a very different moral standard than straight couples do. He says their moral standard is one in which “a greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets” exists. Also, two researchers who professed themselves to be a gay couple came to the conclusion that gay relationships between men rarely survive if they are not open to outside sexual contacts.

  9. […] are largely disturbed by this topic then I strongly recommend that you do not continue. You may be homophobic or influenced by factors that determine your disposition towards homosexuality, and as valid as […]

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