377 wheels come off Supreme Court’s best-laid plans

April 2013 in Natal saw South Africa’s first gay wedding conducted according to traditional Zulu rites. Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since December 2006.

I understand that the Attorney-General has alleged that this article is in contempt of court (scandalising the judiciary). My lawyers have advised that this article be taken down while the case is ongoing. See AGC versus me, the 2013 round.

12 Responses to “377 wheels come off Supreme Court’s best-laid plans”

  1. 2 naturalized 5 October 2013 at 16:12

    I’m confused sorry. CJ Menon not being able to hear the argument is good… how?

  2. 3 ;Annonymous 6 October 2013 at 11:17

    For the purpose of my comment I assume your account of the facts are accurate. If so, it does not matter if the CJ was not involved in the Tan Eng Hong case. Having advised one party(the government) on the legal position with regards to” section 377″ he would have to recuse himself in the other appeal since the same arguments would be canvassed. One other point that arouses my curiousity. The CJ, as you might recall was in the public eye recently participating in the charity event of the Catholic Church. He is a devout Catholic. The Church’s official position with regard to gays may play a part in his decision making. Should he recuse himself on this ground?

    • 4 naturalized 7 October 2013 at 02:04

      No of course not, that’s patently absurd. Should only atheists be allowed to sit for cases involving moral issues?

      Frankly, I suspect the Powers That Be would secretly be overjoyed by an overruling of s 377A by the Court of Appeal. It checks so many boxes for them – 1) demonstrate the independence of the new-look CA and its willingness to act as a constitutional watchdog, 2) neatly resolves an inconvenient political problem, 3) removes a major push factor for talented homosexuals in Singapore in the business, arts etc 4) and best of all, gives them a scapegoat. “The law’s the law. The CA has decided and we can’t do anything about it.” (phew!)

      That’s why I asked about the logic behind trying to get CJ removed from the trial. I’m certainly nothing but a novice in the legal community, but it seems to me that Ravi’s procedural tactics presuppose that he was a lost cause (doubtful) and that his replacement (potentially either Chao Hick Tin, who would be good from Ravi’s perspective, or Judith Prakash, who would be very very bad) would be better. Frankly, if I were either Phang or Rajah JAs, I’d be extremely unimpressed by these shenanigans and the presumption of a lawyer trying to game the system (and assuming that I’d be a “safe vote” for him, too), and it wouldn’t dispose me kindly towards his case at all.

      • 5 ;Annonymous 7 October 2013 at 14:52

        I respect your opinion but would a Mormon do? Your speculations are very interesting but the CJ was the A-G and supported the official governement response to the challenges. Can he now say he was wrong in order to help the government resolve “an inconvenient political problem”?

      • 6 Alan 7 October 2013 at 18:07

        If one of our judge’s judgement is supposedly better than another from the point of view of a defence lawyer, is that not the same as saying that our judges’ judgement can be very subjective depending on the individual judgement of each judge?

        And if that is the case, is that not equivalent as saying that there may be no same applicable Rule of Law here as each judge here may arrive at opposing judgements even on the same case just like when the higher Courts overule the Lower Court judgements ?

        And that any defendant’s luck or fate is actually quite dependant on the intellectual capability of their respective responsible judges ?

  3. 7 JJ 6 October 2013 at 18:54

    Justice Loh’s decision is noteworthy for his inability to understand that people do not choose to be homosexual. I quote:

    “I am unable to agree with Mr Ravi that homosexuality is, on the balance of probabilities, a natural and immutable attribute.” (para 67 of judgment)

    I hope you might take him to task on this in one of your blog posts. It’s staggering to think that an intelligent man can reach this conclusion in 2013.

    • 8 Junnies Jun Yang 10 October 2013 at 01:14

      “Habitual dishonesty (most notable political correctness) is a form of learning; and learning strengthens some brain pathways and brain connections; while allowing other pathways and connections to wither and (perhaps eventually) perish.

      Therefore, even on those rare occasions when a typical modern intellectual tries to be honest and to think straight – they cannot do it, because their reasoning processes have been sabotaged by their own repeated habits of dishonesty – their attempts at honest thoughts will be inhibited, and instead channelled down the usual lying pathways…


      Thus, in modern intellectual life, honesty is punished and dishonesty is rewarded; honest brain pathways decay, dishonest brain pathways enlarge.

      After years and years of conditioning in dishonesty, the typical modern intellectual (whether journalist, scientist, lawyer, teacher, doctor or whatever) becomes physically unable to think straight.

      Thus the lack of common sense of the ‘Clever Sillies’ who rule modern societies, and who are driving them into suicide and self-destruction; may, in practice, be intractable – short of mass repentance and long-term rehabilitation and retraining of neural pathways and connections. ”

      Taken from : http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/dishonesty-reduces-applied-intelligence.html


      In a similar fashion, when one has conditioned/rewired his brain to think that homosexuality is “wrong/immoral/unnatural” by years of conditioning, even if the person is otherwise extremely intelligent and rational, his cognitive processes can’t help but be pushed towards familiar judgements no matter how irrational/illogical they actually are.

  4. 11 naturalized 10 October 2013 at 20:32

    @ ;Annonymous,

    “…would a Mormon do [be allowed to sit on cases involving religion]?”

    A Mormon with the training, intelligence, capacity and courtroom technique to become the highest legal official of this country would do, yes. Or are people with unpopular religious beliefs not entitled to the same opportunities as everyone else? Discrimination cuts both ways, my friend.

    “CJ was the A-G and supported the official governement response to the challenges. Can he now say he was wrong?”

    But that’s what any lawyer, even the A-G, does – argues a position when paid to do so. He cannot (should not?) tell untruths, but he can certainly argue a position he doesn’t personally believe in.

    I get what you (and I think YB, too, though it’s not clear) are saying, though – that CJ Menon may not WANT to deviate from the position he took as A-G, even if he CAN do so. Fair enough, but two observations:

    1) Pretty much the only really cogent argument the retentionists have is that the majority of Singaporeans are anti-homosexual, and will destabilize the country (protests, riots etc.) if repeal occurs. The purpose of the law is to keep the peace, ergo, the law should not repeal. That’s an argument under which the sand is shifting all the time as Singapore becomes more liberal each passing day (pinkdot keeps getting bigger, etc.) CJ could easily say, well, in 2007, people weren’t ready, they are now.

    2) Not sure how convincing this may be, but having actually met him, he seems to me like an eminently reasonable guy. I wasn’t aware he was Catholic (like me) actually, but I can assure you he’s no fundie, you can spot those a mile away. If CJ really does find against repeal… I’d like to think that he’s a good enough lawyer to compartmentalize his work history and personal faith that they played no part in his decision.


  5. 12 naturalized 10 October 2013 at 21:01

    Torturous and strained blackjack analogy:

    Ravi has a 10 and a 6, and he can see the house has an Ace. He can hope the dealer somehow only has 15 or less (unlikely), or he can draw and risk going bust.

    What he’s done here is draw, then stop the dealer and say “I don’t like the look of the next card. Please give me another.” He’d better either know that the first card was a 10 (bust) or the second card was a 5 (giving him 21), because otherwise all he’s doing is irritating the dealer. And in this game, the dealer votes on whether you win or not.

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