Law News
Court Rejects bid to Outlaw Extramarital Sex

A bid to make all sex outside marriage illegal was rejected by a top Indonesian court Thursday, in a ruling that surprised many as concerns grow about rising intolerance in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.

Five out of nine judges on the Constitutional Court in the capital Jakarta narrowly rejected the push to criminalise extramarital relations, including gay sex.

The unsuccessful petition would have affected both unmarried heterosexuals and gay people, who cannot marry in Indonesia.

It comes several months after the arrests of a group of men accused of holding a “gay party” and a wave of anti-LGBT rhetoric.

“This is a victory not only for LGBT communities, it’s a victory for common sense,” said gay rights activist Hartoyo, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

“We live together as a nation and we must respect our differences,” he added.

The court had been hearing a judicial review filed by Islamic activist group the Family Love Alliance that sought to alter the criminal code.

It argued that the influence of the gay community has been spreading, particularly since the United States legalised same-sex marriage, resulting in what it called “moral degradation”.

Activists believe the US decision triggered a backlash in Indonesia, including government ministers publicly making anti-gay statements.

“Of course I’m sad… We know exactly the magnitude of this problem — extramarital affairs and same-sex relationships,” said a weeping Euis Sunarti, who was one of the applicants behind the criminalisation bid.

“Many people will be disappointed with this ruling.”

The Punch