- Title: Unofficially 'married' couple fret over Indonesia's extra-marital sex ban debate
- Date: 3rd October 2019
- Summary: TANGERANG, BANTEN PROVINCE, INDONESIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) FEET WALKING TOWARDS KITCHEN VARIOUS OF WOMAN COOKING INSTANT NOODLES FOR HER HUSBAND WOMAN PUTTING INSTANT NOODLES IN BOWL AND CARRYING BOWL (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) UNOFFICIALLY MARRIED WOMAN WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "The lawmakers assess it as adultery. (But) This is my responsibility to my God, in the eyes of the religion or according to the religion we have been officially united together. Even though it is a 'siri' (unofficial marriage), it is legal. We don't have to be officially married by the Religious Affairs Office. The important thing is we are legitimate in the eyes of our religion, although it is true in the eyes of our country we aren't officially married. This is what lawmakers call adultery." FEET WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) UNOFFICIALLY MARRIED WOMAN WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "My status as a widow will not be questioned. If my husband left, then he was not a soul mate. If we find a soul mate, we can get married again -- this is how easy it is." WOMAN PUTTING DOWN BOWL OF NOODLES (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) UNOFFICIALLY MARRIED WOMAN WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "If we are required to be legally married, we will comply and go to the religious affairs office. We have never thought about this. We will follow (the ban) as long as the government lets us get married for free and provides documents to us, no problem." VARIOUS OF MAN STIRRING NOODLE (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) UNOFFICIALLY MARRIED MAN WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "If it (criminalizing of extra-marital sex) does not threaten our lives, it will not become a big problem. We will leave what has happened, be. But if the government brings up the unofficial marriage issue again, it will be a problem and will burden our minds. It depends on the cost of getting (legally) married because we are poor people and have fewer means. " VARIOUS OF MAN EATING NOODLES WOMAN'S HANDS MAN WATCHING TV VARIOUS OF WOMAN, MAN AND CHILDREN WATCHING TV MAN LEAVING THE HOUSE JAKARTA, INDONESIA (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 24, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF STUDENT PROTESTS OVER A RANGE ISSUES INCLUDING A NEW CRIMINAL CODE WHICH PENALISES ADULTERY
- Embargoed: 17th October 2019 12:54
- Keywords: extra marital sex ban law protest couples
- Location: TANGERANG, BANTEN PROVINCE, JAKARTA, INDONESIA
- City: TANGERANG, BANTEN PROVINCE, JAKARTA, INDONESIA
- Country: Indonesia
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001AZOJSQV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:For the last 13 years, this middle-aged Indonesian couple, have been happily "married", enjoying family life with their three children.
But their relationship is neither legal or official.
The wife, who declined to be identified, is a domestic helper and her husband works as a porter at a clothes market nearby and neither make enough, or have ever made enough, to finance a wedding, much less the party that goes with the nuptials. The two just started living together and in their mind and those of friends, family and neighbours, they are a "married" couple.
No one, not even they themselves, had ever questioned their relationship until last month when Indonesian parliament agreed on a final draft on a new penal code that would criminalise consensual sex outside marriage.
Violent protests erupted around the country in opposition to the bill and President Joko Widodo ordered parliament to delay the vote.
"The lawmakers assess it as adultery. (But) This is my responsibility to my God, in the eyes of the religion or according to the religion we have been officially united together. Even though it is a 'siri' (unofficial marriage), it is legal," said the wife.
She said that the legal benefits of being officially married were little different from having a partner because her husband could still leave her if he felt that he had found another soul mate, whether they were married or not. And if her partner dies and she were not legally married, she would not have to live the remainder of her life as a widow.
The world's most populous Muslim-majority country has substantial Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities but has seen a recent trend towards greater religious piety and conservative Islamic activism.
The conservative groups of the world's most populous country welcomed the potential ban. Under the proposed laws, unmarried couples who "live together as a husband and wife" could be jailed for six months or face a maximum fine of 10 million rupiah ($710), which is three months' salary for many Indonesians.
The planned revisions had spurred neighbour Australia to update its travel advice, warning citizens of risks they faced from sex outside marriage or homosexual relations in Indonesia if the new rules take effect. Australians are among the leading visitors to the holiday island of Bali.
Widodo has officially agreed to delay the vote to next term. Rights groups welcomed the delay and urged the president to review or block the bill altogether.
The couple were relieved that the vote has been postponed, but worry that it's not over yet.
"If the government brings up the unofficial marriage issue again, it will be a problem and will burden our minds," said the husband. "We will follow (the ban) as long as the government lets us get married for free and provides documents to us."
The new government which was recently sworn in is due to review 14 articles including the extra-marital sex ban.
(Production: Adi Kurniawan, Heru Asprihanto)
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