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Politicians Propose Criminalization of Sex Outside of Marriage


Legislators in the House of Representative (DPR) have discussed amendments and possible additions to Indonesia’s Criminal Code including criminalization of all sex outside of marriage and for violations to be punishable by up to five years in jail.

Just recently, DPR lawmakers have discussed amendments to criminal code Article 484 that signify the criminalization of adultery. Currently, while the law criminalizes any member of a married couple engaging in sex with someone outside their marriage, it is rarely used.

Today, a large faction of the DPR is pushing for making all sex outside of marriage punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. The said petition is essentially similar to the amendments that the conservative Islamic group AILA is pushing for at the Constitutional Court.

The National Mandate Party, the National Awakening Party, the United Development Party (PPP) and the Prosperous Justice Party are just some of the Islamic political parties backing the amendment. Other supporters of the petition include the Democratic Party, the NasDem Party and the Gerindra. Together, these supporting parties make up a little over 50 percent of the DPR.

United Development Party (PPP) Lawmaker Arsul Sani

See: Advocates Push for Rape Definition to Include Same-Sex Abuse

PPP lawmaker Arsul Sani explained the need for the amendment as “the law should reflect morality” when everyone knows that all sex outside of marriage is considered immoral. Sani told reporters that the amendment will help prevent further incidents of violence against adulterers, including public humiliation and sometimes even burning of unmarried couples.

Other additions to the Criminal Code include Article 481 and Article 483, petitioning for the criminalization of the distribution of any form of contraceptives or dissemination of information about them.

A senior researcher at the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, Anggara however expressed his concern on how serious the consequences were once the law was enacted. He explained that his friends engaged in reproductive health education may be criminalized with the limited formulation of the law. He added that only those who are state certified may be involved in reproductive health campaigns.

The senior researcher further mentioned how the petition will impair the efforts and campaigns carried out by NGOs as well as the government’s family planning programmes, which are primarily aimed at disseminating critical information on reproductive health, HIV, among others.

Image credits: StatisticBrain, TeropongSenayan

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