Indonesia was recently in the news for prohibiting sex between non-married persons.
According to CNN, “Indonesian lawmakers unanimously passed a sweeping new criminal code that criminalizes sex outside marriage. It’s part of a tranche of changes that critics say threaten human rights and freedoms in the Southeast Asian country.”
Moreover, there have been concerns over the impact this law might have on tourism, which is a critical component of Indonesia’s economy.
But the governor of Bali announced that tourists won’t be impacted by the law.
Why Is Bali So Lax On The Law?
The creation of such a law wasn’t all that shocking. Indonesia is, according to Next Shark, “the most populous Muslim-majority country.”
What sets Bali apart is that it has a huge Hindu following, with very different views on sex.
As noted by Ozy, “some scholars point out same-sex love and sexuality are celebrated in Hindu texts.”
This may have played a role in Bali’s decision to not enforce the law, at least where tourists are concerned.
The governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, said, “Bali is (business) as usual — comfortable and safe to visit.”
“We look forward to welcoming visitors with our Balinese hospitality and advise all parties not to deliver misleading statements regarding the Indonesian criminal code that might disrupt Bali tourism.”
Critics Were Vocal When The Law Passed
Governor Koster added, “there will be no checks on marital statuses at tourist accommodations like hotels, villas, guest houses or spas, or inspections by public officials or community groups.”
But before that, critics in and outside of Indonesia blasted the new law as archaic, absurd and unnecessary.
One unnamed person told The Guardian, “it’s absurd: this new law gives more power to controlling and abusive parents to make their adult child and their partner’s life a living hell.”
CNN reported, “rights groups and critics warned that the new code would disproportionately impact women, and further curtail human rights and freedoms in the country of more than 270 million people.”
Sex Outside Of Marriage Faced Scrutiny Before
Indonesia was set to criminalize sex outside of marriage back in 2019. But protesters came out in the thousands, most of them students.
Along with banning sex outside of marriage, the law would have also had a “chilling effect on free speech.”
In response to the outcry back then, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, postponed the vote.