Gay man pulls appeal for High Court action

Gay man pulls appeal for High Court action

SINGAPORE - A gay man has withdrawn his appeal to the High Court for it to make a declaration that the Singapore Constitution bans workplace discrimination of homosexual men.

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) revealed 41-year-old Wee Kim San Lawrence Bernard's decision yesterday. It also said he will have to pay costs to the Attorney-General for withdrawing the appeal as well as for one other court action.

Three other people also withdrew applications to join Mr Wee in his bid for the declaration. He declined to comment yesterday.

Mr Wee had originally sued his former employer, the department store Robinsons, for discrimination.

He lost the case, then filed an action against the Attorney-General to try and get the High Court to declare that the Constitution's Article 12 bans workplace discrimination of homosexual men.

That action last August was also unsuccessful.

The AGC said yesterday that Mr Wee "had failed to show an arguable case that the Government had violated his Article 12 constitutional rights" and that he had "therefore failed to show he even had the standing to seek the declaration".

Mr Wee then launched a further appeal to the High Court before withdrawing it on Monday. Three others filed applications to join Mr Wee in his legal effort to get the High Court to make the declaration, but also withdrew them on Monday.

The trio consisted of a bisexual, a transvestite and an androgyne - a person in whom both feminine and masculine traits are integrated in their sense of gender. All four were represented by Mr M. Ravi.

Still pending is an appeal by gay couple Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee. They had unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court, claiming that Section 377A of the Penal Code - outlawing homosexual acts - violates their rights to equal treatment under the Constitution's Article 12.

Their appeal will be heard in the week of July 14.

zengkun@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 23 in The Straits Times.

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