Indonesia passes law banning extramarital sex for citizens and foreigners alike

Indonesia Criminal Code
Indonesian Law and Human Right Minister Yasonna Laoly, left, pose for the media with Deputy House Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad, center, during a session ratifying the country’s new criminal code at the parliament building in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. Indonesia’s Parliament passed a long-awaited and controversial revision of its penal code Tuesday that criminalizes extramarital sex for citizens and visiting foreigners alike. (AP Photo) AP

Indonesia passes law banning extramarital sex for citizens and foreigners alike

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Indonesia’s parliament passed a law banning sex outside of marriage for citizens and foreigners alike.

The law, which will take effect in three years upon the adoption of a new criminal code, sentences offenders to one year in prison, while those found cohabiting can face six months, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the new law code. Sex outside of marriage was already banned, but the punishment was light and almost never enforced. The strict new laws come amid an upsurge in religious conservatism in the world’s most populous Muslim country.


Though widely criticized by human rights activists, the new code was hailed by the government and its supporters as a monumental achievement.

“It turns out that it is not easy for us to break away from colonial living legacy, even though this nation no longer wants to use colonial products,” Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said in a news conference. “Finalizing this process demonstrates that even 76 years after the Dutch Criminal Code was adopted as the Indonesian Criminal Code, it is never too late to produce laws on our own. The Criminal Code is a reflection of the civilization of a nation.”

The new criminal code also bans insulting the president or vice president, state institutions, and national ideology. Contraception and blasphemy, as well as their promotion, are also banned. Oddly enough, despite the strict new laws regarding a wide variety of social issues, the new code is more liberal than the old in terms of LGBT rights and abortion.

Human rights activists expressed worry over abuses from the new laws, particularly regarding premarital sex and cohabitation. Some worry that millions of married couples without proper marriage licenses could be subject to imprisonment, according to the BBC. Other business leaders feared that the ban on extramarital sex could harm tourism.


Ajeng, a woman who has lived with her partner outside of marriage for the past five years, expressed her worries to the outlet, adding that she believes the new laws are draconian in nature.

“People are angry that their liberty is being taken. Indonesia has plenty of problems like poverty, climate change, and corruption, but instead of solving a problem they’ve created a bill that only adds to the problem,” she said.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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