Indonesia is pushing to clamp down on gay and pre-marital sex as part of a sweeping criminal law overhaul that critics blame on a wave of religious fundamentalism sweeping across the world’ s biggest Muslim -majority nation.
The proposed shake up — which also takes aim at condom use and adultery — is winning unprecedented support ahead of 2019 presidential elections , after earlier attempts to shake up Indonesia’ s Dutch -colonial era laws fizzled .
Parliament is drawing up the new code with all the major political parties reportedly on board and the draft is expected to be tabled in the coming months .
Wide swathes of Indonesian society — including heterosexual couples who might face jail for having sex outside wedlock or having an affair — may be impacted if the laws pass .
But the Southeast Asian nation’ s small LGBT community could feel the sting most .
“ Some politicians see it as an opportunity to cater to the religious base, ” said political analyst Yuventius Nicky .
“ There’s this supposed morality threat that is being queer. ”
Government officials , religious hardliners and influential Islamic groups have lined up to make anti -LGBT statements in public recently .
Last month, Google pulled one of the world’ s largest gay dating apps from the Indonesian version of its online store in response to government demands .
And police have used a tough anti -pornography law to criminalise members of the lesbian , gay , bisexual and transgender ( LGBT) community.
Parliamentary speaker Bambang Soesatyo called this week for a crackdown on the community’ s “ excesses”, after the health ministry announced it would release a medical guide classifying homosexuality as a “ mental disorder ”.
Gay sex is currently legal everywhere in secular Indonesia except for Aceh where it is banned under the semi-autonomous province’ s Islamic law .
– ‘ Hateful rhetoric’ –
The UN human rights chief blasted Indonesia’s proposed laws and raised them in talks with President Joko Widodo this week .
“ The hateful rhetoric against this ( LGBT) community that is being cultivated seemingly for cynical political purposes will only deepen their suffering and create unnecessary divisions, ” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ ad Al Hussein told reporters .
“ Any discriminatory provisions ( in the new law) need to be removed ,” he added.
The code ’ s latest draft carries a five -year jail term for extramarital sex or adultery, fuelling concerns that same-sex couples, who cannot marry in Indonesia, could be caught up in the dragnet .
It also carries penalties for “ showing or offering contraception tools without authorisation ” and calls for stiffer blasphemy sentences .
Supporters of the changes include the Family Love Alliance , a lobby group which made a failed attempt to get the constitutional court to outlaw extramarital and same-sex relations .
“ Gay sex is deplorable, ” Alliance leader Rita Soebagio told AFP.
But the new law “ does not mean that many people would be arrested . It ’s just like when the law on corruption was passed , not everybody was arrested for corruption”.
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