Human rights organizations say the situation is very dangerous for Indonesia, which has a larger Muslim population than any other country.“This [petition] consists of discrimination towards all Indonesians: women as well as men, and those of diverse sexual orientations,” Bahrain, who goes by one name and is the director of advocacy at the Legal Aid Center, told the court at a hearing in early October.Activists fear that Indonesia’s highly conservative court will be unable to resist the opportunity to strike a blow for traditional morality. Over the past 1½ years, gays have become a particular target of these religious values, with state officials and Islamic scholars repeatedly declaring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people represent an unprecedented danger to the health of Indonesian society. “Those who conducted the movement to legalize [same-sex marriage] were a small group of Jews in America,” he told the court.
If the court revises the law to forbid casual sex, gay sexual relations would become illegal for the first time in Indonesian history, and straight unmarried couples could face prosecution.
A lesbian activist, Lini Zurlia, sat outside the courtroom one recent day because of the overflowing crowd, wearily observing the hearing on a screen. “They don’t understand us and don’t want to understand us.” But she worried that the Islamists would prevail.
“Of the nine judges, only two judges have a solid perspective on the law.
The current law punishes adultery with up to nine months in prison, and if the law is revised, that penalty could carry over to unmarried sexual partners who have been prosecuted and convicted. Dewi also warned the court about the dangers of the gay hookup app Grindr, which has since been banned by the government.
The case is the latest battle in the struggle over Indonesia’s social culture, which features a small band of progressives battling to maintain this Muslim-majority democracy’s relatively secular legal system against Islamist forces. We’re not a secular country — this country acknowledges religion.” Although Indonesia, a rare example of a vibrant Muslim-majority democracy, does not maintain Islamic law at the national level, Indonesian conservatives interpret their country’s constitution to support loosely defined religious values. “We have to protect this nation, ladies and gentlemen. One witness, a Muslim scholar and anti-LGBT activist named Adian Husaini, suggested that the spread of gay rights is the result of a Jewish conspiracy.
Seven of them ask questions that aren’t about legality or constitutionality but instead about religion or moral perspectives,” she said.