Words: Steve Brown
Indonesian president Joko Widodo has called for a delay in passing a new law that would ban gay and pre-marital sex.
Today (September 20), the president said the proposed criminal code change needs a closer look following backlash and asked that parliament scrap the planned vote before its session ends next week, the Mail Online reported.
In a televised press conference, Widodo said: “After hearing from various groups with objections to aspects of the law, I’ve decided that some of it needs further deliberation.
“The justice minister has been told to convey my views to parliament and that ratification of the criminal code should be postponed and not passed.”
Gay and heterosexual couples could face between six months and a year in jail for having sex outside of wedlock or having an affair if the law is passed in the Muslim-majority country.
The criminal code – which was created during the Dutch colonial era – has been debated for decades and was about to pass in 2018 before it fizzled out.
This year there was a renewed push by conservative Islamic groups, but it was met with criticism from human rights groups and citizens who claimed the draconian law invades their bedrooms.
An online petition calling for the bill to be scrapped garnered half-a-million signatures.