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Unmarried couple frets over Indonesia's sex ban

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:35s - Published < > Embed
Unmarried couple frets over Indonesia's sex ban

Unmarried couple frets over Indonesia's sex ban

After 13 years together, one middle-aged Indonesian couple is worried.

Their relationship is neither legal nor official, and a controversial new penal code to be discussed in parliament could make them criminals by banning sex outside marriage.

Eve Johnson reports.

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Unmarried couple frets over Indonesia's sex ban

For 13 years this Indonesian couple has been happily unmarried.

Now, they're afraid of being punished for skipping a ceremony they say they could never afford.

The couple have three children and the tacit approval of their community.

The problem is their country.

Under a proposed penal code, people caught living together outside of marriage in Indonesia could be fined about $700 dollars or jailed for six months.

(SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) UNOFFICIALLY MARRIED WOMAN WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "Lawmakers call it adultery.

But in the eyes of our religion, we have been officially united." Conservative Islam has been on the rise in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

The ban is part of a bigger overhaul of the penal code welcomed by hard-liners.

But others have taken to the streets to protest government intrusions on privacy.

In the tourist destination of Bali, business owners warn the bill could scare off visitors.

Australia has already issued a pre-emptive warning to its citizens.

Meanwhile, the unmarried couple is watching and waiting.

They're scraping by with manual labor jobs.

They can only get married, they say, if the government will do it for free.

(SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) UNOFFICIALLY MARRIED MAN WHO DECLINED TO BE IDENTIFIED, SAYING: "It won't be a problem as long as the ban doesn't threaten us.

But if the government brings it up again, it will burden our minds." President Joko Widodo has put off a vote in parliament Activists have urged him to review the bill or drop it altogether.




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