Judges mull non-marital sex ban

Indonesia is trying to encourage young couples to tie the knot. Source: Pixabay

The Indonesian supreme court is debating whether non-marital sex should be outlawed, which would also make gay sex illegal.

The Family Love Alliance, a conservative lobby group, petitioned Jakarta’s Constitutional Court to broaden existing laws, which make adultery illegal, to include sex between unmarried couples. A decision is not expected until December or later.

“This consists of discrimination towards all Indonesians. Women as well as men, and those of diverse sexual orientations,” Bahrain of the human-rights lobby group Legal Aid Centre told the court this month.

Indonesia is seeing an increasing movement away from its largely secular traditions towards Islamic conservatism.

Earlier this month two Indonesian men were arrested after a photo of them kissing appeared on Facebook.

The 22-year-old student and office worker, 24, posted the picture with the caption: “With my dear lover tonight. May our love last forever.”

The couple were expected to be charged under anti-pornography laws, as homosexuality is not illegal, and could be jailed.

The youth and sports ministry recently advertised the role of youth ambassador online, saying candidates must “not be involved in casual sex or deviant acts, including LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender]”. This would have to be proven with a medical certificate.

After a public outcry it was removed from the advert.

This month the Constitutional Court has heard witnesses giving incendiary testimonies to the court.

“Can LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] refrain from . . . free sex with constantly changing partners? They cannot. LGBT represents sex, sex, sex,” Dr Dewi Inong Irana told the court. Claiming to be basing her testimony on her experiences of gay patients, Dewi warned of the perils of the gay-dating app Grindr. “We have to protect this nation, ladies and gentlemen. Grindr is already here,” she said. The app has since been banned.

Muslim scholar Adian Husaini said the spread of gay rights was a Jewish conspiracy. He told the court: “Those who conducted the movement to legalise [gay marriage] were a small group of Jews in America.” He referred to a speech given by US Vice President Biden allegedly to Jewish leaders in gratitude for their support in backing same-sex marital equality.

A lesbian activist, Lini Zurlia, outside the court, said: “We can only laugh. They don’t understand us and don’t want to understand us. Of the nine judges, only two judges have a solid perspective on the law.” She added: “Seven of them ask questions that aren’t about legality or constitutionality but instead about religion or moral perspectives.”