Indonesian lawmakers voted on several amendments last week to the Criminal Code of the country, including the adoption of a clause that provides for criminal penalties of up to one year in prison for sex outside of marriage and up to six months in prison for cohabitationwith a member of the opposite sex without a marriage license.
Members of Parliament unanimously supported the bill. They justify their decision as follows: changes are needed to finally “move away from the remnants of Dutch colonial rule, protect the institution of marriage and support Indonesian values in the largest Muslim country in the world.”
The law banning extramarital sex will take effect in three years.
Governor of Indonesia's main tourist destination — Bali — Wayan Coster issued a statement the day before in an attempt to clarify the controversial new law and its potential devastating impact on the country's tourism industry.
Foreign visitors planning to spend their holidays in Indonesia need not worry that they will be adversely affected by the new law banning extramarital sex.
The new ban will not apply to foreigners — Only those complained by the injured party will be prosecuted. This could be a parent, spouse or child.
According to Coster, the Bali government will ensure that “marital status checks are made when registering for any tourist accommodation: hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses, lodges and spas were not held.
The governor assured that neither Bali government officials nor public organizations will check whether tourists are married or not.
The governor's speech followed , as it became clear that the new law is “absolutely counterproductive”, it could scare away international travelers at a time when the Indonesian economy and tourism are just beginning to recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism predicted that by 2025 the number of foreign tourists will reach the pre-pandemic level of six million people a year.