header banner

In Indonesia, having sex before marriage is illegal

Big problem for Aussie travellers headed to Bali as Indonesia passes controversial law making sex outside marriage punishable by jail - including TOURISTS

VIDEO: Gravitas: Indonesia criminalises sex outside marriage
  • Indonesia will pass controversial new laws banning sex outside of marriage
  • Living with partner before marriage also banned when laws pass December 15
  • Unmarried couples face up to a year behind bars if caught breaking strict laws
  • New rules will apply to foreign residents and tourists, including visitors in Bali

Published: | Updated:

The Indonesian parliament has unanimously approved strict new laws that will criminalise sex outside of marriage.

Officials have confirmed unmarried couples caught having sex face up to one year behind bars once the laws are passed later this month.

Living with your partner before you are married will also be banned and involves a penalty of up to six months jail.

The new laws will also apply to foreign residents and tourists, including up to a million Australians who visit island holiday hotspot Bali each year.

Indonesia will pass strict new laws which will ban unmarried couples from having sex or living together (pictured a couple enjoying their Bali holiday)

The new criminal code is expected to be passed on December 15 but won't come into effect immediately, which could take up to three years.

'All have agreed to ratify the (draft changes) into law,' lawmaker Bambang Wuryanto said.

'The old code belongs to Dutch heritage … and is no longer relevant.' 

The law may make it more difficult for unmarried couples to check into a hotel room.

Couples can only be prosecuted if they are reported by a spouse, parents or their children. 

The criminal code won't come into effect immediately.

Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights Edward Hiariej said the new law 'has a lot of implementing regulations that must be worked out, so it's impossible in one year,' but takes a maximum of three years to transition from the old code to the new one.

The draft has the support of some Islamic groups in a country where conservatism is on the rise, although opponents argue that it reverses liberal reforms enacted after the 1998 fall of authoritarian leader Suharto.

A previous draft of the code was set to be passed in 2019 but sparked nationwide protests.

News of the new laws being approved quickly sparked outrage.

'We are going backward... repressive laws should have been abolished but the bill shows that the arguments of scholars abroad are true, that our democracy is indisputably in decline,' Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid said. 

Unmarried couples will face time behind bars if they're caught breaking the strict new laws (pictured, a couple walking along a Bali beach)

Business groups have warned the new laws could destroy Indonesia's image as a tourism and investment destination.

Maulana Yusran, deputy chief of Indonesia's tourism industry board, said the new bill was 'totally counter-productive' at a time when the economy and tourism were starting to recover from the pandemic.

'Hotels or any accommodation facilities are like second homes for tourists. With the ratification of this criminal code, hotels are now problematic places,' he told Reuters.

The new rules could have a major impact on the LGBTQ community in Indonesia, where gay marriage is not allowed.

 The new laws will also apply to foreign residents and millions of tourists who visit the island nation each year (pictured, visitors enjoying Bali's Seminyak beach


Article information

Author: Brett Terry

Last Updated: 1703381641

Views: 1324

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (92 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Brett Terry

Birthday: 1917-07-31

Address: 98732 Julie Causeway Suite 412, Lake Jessica, TX 87012

Phone: +3598006267583408

Job: Civil Engineer

Hobby: Web Development, Ice Skating, Quilting, Skydiving, Camping, Playing Chess, Animation

Introduction: My name is Brett Terry, I am a daring, capable, multicolored, Gifted, bold, accessible, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.