Current Affairs

Indonesia’s top court considers case to criminalise consensual gay sex alongside sex with a minor

Joseph McCormick August 3, 2016
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Indonesia’s top court has heard a case from activists who want to criminalise gay sex and make it punishable with prison sentences of up to 15 years.

A group calling itself the Family Love Alliance calls for sex between adults of the same gender to be treated the same as if an “adult” engages in sex with a “minor”, as currently defined in law.

The Islamic group based in Jakarta submitted a review petition to the nine-judge Constitutional Court which has accepted the case.

The group’s chair Rita Hendrawaty appeared to deny that the group was attempting to criminalise gay sex.

She said: “The real reason is so that we have much clearer norms… We are not intending to criminalise those who have a deviant sexual orientation. That is not the point.”

In a later interview with the Jarkata Post, Hendrawaty said: “The LGBT community is spreading propaganda to make it seem as if casual sex or same-sex relationships are OK.”

The legal case has been questions as “vague”, by Hendri Yulius, the author of Coming Out, who says it is not well defined.

“What does it refer to? Does it refer to identity? Does it refer to sexual practices in which anal sex is not the monopoly of gay people, but also heterosexual couple? Plus, having anal sex does not mean you are gay,” he told Rappler.

While gay sex is not currently illegal in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, LGBT+ people face discrimination and stigma.

The anti-LGBT group presented “experts” at the court on Tuesday.

Those presented claimed that homosexuality is inherently immoral and that it goes against Indonesia’s state ideology.

At a hearing in the court later this month, testimony from those opposed to criminalising gay sex will be heard.

As well as criminalising gay sex, the Family Love Alliance also wants the court to expand adultery laws to apply to couples who are not married, and to change the definition of rape to be gender-neutral.

Current Indonesian law defines rape as an act by a man against a woman.

Related topics: Asia, Indonesia, Indonesia

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