Indonesian Court Narrowly Rejects Push To Criminalise Gay Sex


Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has narrowly rejected a push by an Islamic activist group to ban gay and extramarital sex in the country.

Activists and academics from the Family Love Alliance lodged the petition to the court last year, but the panel of nine judges narrowly ruled against it 5 votes to 4, The Jakarta Post reported.

In the ruling, the bench argued that the petitioners had sought to formulate new criminal acts in the existing criminal code, which is the responsibility of the lawmakers at the House of Representatives, not the court.

Members of the Family Love Alliance had told the court homosexuality must be criminalised with a five-year prison sentence to protect Indonesia’s religious and moral values.

One Indonesian LGBTI activist, Dede Oetomo, welcomed the ruling but warned the fight wasn’t over, with the country’s parliament also considering similar changes.

Homosexuality is not expressly illegal in Indonesia, except in the conservative Islamic province of Aceh which independently enforces Sharia law.

But human rights groups say there has been an alarming rise in anti-LGBTI sentiment in the country in recent years.

Human Rights Watch spokesperson Andreas Harsono told the ABC that more than 200 LGBTI individuals had been arrested in 2017.

“[The court ruling] will not change much while there’s a homophobic situation among law-enforcement officials,” he said.

This year, there have been a number of police raids targeting gay saunas and so-called gay “parties” in Jakarta.

In May, two men were caned 83 times in public in Aceh after neighbours caught them having consensual sex.

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