1 Feb 2018

Indonesian Legislature Moves to Ban Sex Outside of Marriage

LGBT activists fear that, if passed, the new statute will be used against those in same-sex relationships.

LGBT activists have expressed concern over a draft revision to Indonesia’s penal code that effectively bars all extramarital sex, fearing it could target their community.

Channel News Asia reported the move has yet to be finalised, but the potential statute allegedly outlines penalties for cohabitation, same-sex relationships and consensual sex outside of marriage.

Courts recently voted down a similar measure put forward by a conservative lobby called the Family Love Alliance.

Critics say changes to the colonial-era penal code would be difficult to monitor without invading people’s privacy. Andreas Harsono, a representative of Human Rights Watch, described the shift as “creat[ing] new discriminatory offences.”

“If law enforcement agencies are busy policing morality,” he said, “it will slow down Indonesia’s efforts to develop their economy, society, knowledge, education.”

The South China Morning Post reported on Jan. 25 that Indonesian LGBT activists are particularly worried about persecution following a recent survey that revealed nearly 90 percent of their countrymen felt “threatened” by them.