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President Joko Widodo ordered that the newly formed House of Representatives vote on the planned law only at the beginning of October. The bill would make extramarital and thus homosexual sex a punishable offence.

The controversial bill was originally supposed to pass in parliament this month. After international criticism, petitions and demonstrations, Joko Widodo now announced that the bill would have to be revised again. A particular factor is likely to have been the fear of  losses in business.

 

Travel warning for Indonesia

Shortly before the announcement of the president, the Australian government had issued a travel warning for Indonesia. It was particularly aimed at unmarried couples. After the adoption of the new law, a prison sentence of up to one year could be imposed for extramarital sex. This applies to homosexual couples in particular as marriage is not possible for same-sex partners in Indonesia.

Widodo promised that 14 of the planned laws would now be revised once again. The tightening of the law would also mean a deterioration in the rights of women and religious minorities. It would also have made punishable giving minors access to contraceptives in the predominantly Muslim country.

 

Homosexuality in Indonesia

Homosexuality is not punishable in Indonesia. However, developments in recent years have been alarming. There have been raids and arrests in gay saunas as well as homophobic attacks. Homophobia is also increasingly being abused as an election campaign issue. In 2017, homosexual men were publicly whipped for the first time in the partially independent Indonesian province of Aceh, where Sharia law was introduced.

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