Revisions to Indonesia law could outlaw sex outside marriage

By , on January 31, 2018


Indonesia's Islamic political parties appear on the cusp of a major victory: outlawing all sex outside marriage. (Photo by Everyone Sinks Starco/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Indonesia’s Islamic political parties appear on the cusp of a major victory: outlawing all sex outside marriage. (Photo by Everyone Sinks Starco/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Riding a tsunami of moral conservatism and anti-gay prejudice, Indonesia’s Islamic political parties appear on the cusp of a major victory: outlawing all sex outside marriage.

Revisions to Indonesia’s criminal code being considered by Parliament would allow prison sentences of up to five years for sex between unmarried people. Those changes would also criminalize gay sex.

Rights groups and legal experts fear a profound setback to human rights and privacy and are racing to organize opposition.

While that provision has grabbed attention, the revised criminal code also contains changes that could weaken checks and balances in Indonesia’s young democracy. One article potentially makes criticism of the president defamation and others could be used to weaken the Corruption Eradication Commission.