By Darren Boon
A fundraising initiative to support the constitutional challenge against Section 377A of the Penal Code has raised more than US$80,000 (About S$100,000) in five days.
The two months long fundraiser aims to raise US$150,000 (S$187,500) to cover the estimated costs of the legal fees for the duration of the case.
Gay couple Kenneth Lim and Gary Chee had filed a legal challenge against the Section 377A last December that the law which criminalises sex between men as unconstitutional.
The law states that “Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure 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”.
The High Court on April 9 has upheld the law.
However, the couple plans to file a Notice of Appeal within the next three weeks. As such, friends and supporters have started a fundraising campaign to help pay for the court fees.
The organisers originally set a target of US$50,000 (S$62,500) that was met under 24 hours.
“We are moved by the level of support and inspired by how many have came together to contribute to this initiative,” said Alan Seah, a supporter of Lim and Chee, in a press release. “When we first heard how much money we needed to put this case through the entire judicial process, we were unsure how we could raise the needed amount. We indicated US$50,000 as an optimistic figure for public crowdfunding and were worried we would not even raise 50 percent of this figure.”
Other supporters of the fundraising include local celebrities Neo, Swee Lin and Pamela Oei as well as retired bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia Rev Yap Kim Hao.
Lim and Chee were quoted in a press release saying that they “were also overwhelmed by the support”.
“We will like to thank everyone for being a part of this along with us, and also for our friends and supporters who have pulled this fund raising campaign together and given us so much love, friendship and support since this began,” they said.
Ho Bing Zhao, a donor, said, “Every little donation helps – and this is one of the times where support must come hard and fast.”
He added, “It may not be decriminalized today, or even in the next few years, but resistance to the miserable status quo will go a long way into making Singapore a better place to live.”
Though the initial fundraising target of US$50,000 has been met, the fundraisers have indicated that the fundraising will still continue to accept contributions from well-wishers for the legal fees and any surplus from the fundraising will be donated to LGBT-related causes in Singapore.