Indonesia’s top court has heard a case from activists who want to criminalise gay sex

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YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA - FEBRUARY 23: Anti-LGBT activists protest on February 23, 2016 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia ministers and religious leaders have taken additional steps to denounced homosexuality, LGBT websites had been blocked and hardliners launched anti-gay raids over recent weeks. Indonesia saw its former communications minister calling for the public to kill any gay people they find and the leading psychiatric body describe transgenderism as a mental disorder. Homosexuality and gay sex are not illegal in Indonesia but the world's largest Muslim country has been increasing meeting intolerance from the Indonesian public. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

A group calling itself the Family Love Alliance calls for sex between adults of the same gender to be treated the same as if an “adult” engages in sex with a “minor”, as currently defined in law. The Islamic group based in Jakarta submitted a review petition to the nine-judge Constitutional Court which has accepted the case.
The group’s chair Rita Hendrawaty appeared to deny that the group was attempting to criminalise gay sex.

She said: “The real reason is so that we have much clearer norms… We are not intending to criminalise those who have a deviant sexual orientation. That is not the point.” In a later interview with the Jarkata Post, Hendrawaty said: “The LGBT community is spreading propaganda to make it seem as if casual sex or same-sex relationships are OK.”

The legal case has been questions as “vague”, by Hendri Yulius, the author of Coming Out, who says it is not well defined. “What does it refer to? Does it refer to identity? Does it refer to sexual practices in which anal sex is not the monopoly of gay people, but also heterosexual couple? Plus, having anal sex does not mean you are gay,” he told Rappler. While gay sex is not currently illegal in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, LGBT+ people face discrimination and stigma.

At a hearing in the court later this month, testimony from those opposed to criminalising gay sex will be heard. As well as criminalising gay sex, the Family Love Alliance also wants the court to expand adultery laws to apply to couples who are not married, and to change the definition of rape to be gender-neutral.

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