Marry or burn

Indonesia is often touted as that rare thing, a somewhat/comparatively liberal majority-Muslim state. To put it another way it’s touted as being not as bad as Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or Bangladesh or need I go on. But that’s one hell of a low bar.

Now it’s thinking of making all sex outside of marriage a crime.

Indonesia’s parliament is drafting proposed revisions to the national criminal code that could ban all consensual sex outside marriage, sparking alarm among activists who it would breach basic rights and could be misused to target the LGBT community.

The parliamentary commission drawing up recommendations to change the Dutch colonial-era criminal code has still to finalize its proposals.

But a draft, seen by Reuters on Monday, included measures to criminalize extramarital sex, same-sex relations, and co-habitation, all of which were previously unregulated by law.

Not very liberal, is it. Why should a government even care how citizens arrange their sex lives?

Last month, the Constitutional Court narrowly voted to strike down a similar petition filed by the Family Love Alliance, one of the conservative groups behind the move to push legislation through parliament.

“The truth is the majority of religions in Indonesia hold the same values, so…(the revisions) are representative of the majority and of all cultures in Indonesia,” said Euis Sunarti, a member of the Family Love Alliance, which likens itself to conservative evangelical Christian groups in the United States.

It doesn’t matter what kind of theocracy it is, as long as it is a theocracy.

Junimart Girsang, a member of parliament from the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party of Stuggle (PDIP), said same-sex relations could not be accepted in the country.

“In legal terms, religious terms and ethical terms, we cannot have that in our country,” Girsang, a member of the parliamentary commission, said.

Few Indonesian politicians have voiced support for LGBT rights for fear of alienating a largely conservative voter base ahead of legislative and presidential elections next year.

Not all that liberal then, it seems.

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