Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The House Drops a Bill That Will Require Indonesians to Turn in Gay Family Members

Jakarta Globe
November 24, 2020 | 3:44 pm
Nurul Arifin, left, a legislator from Golkar Party, chat with her colleagues in a plenary meeting at the House of Representatives in Jakarta last February. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)
Nurul Arifin, left, a legislator from Golkar Party, chat with her colleagues in a plenary meeting at the House of Representatives in Jakarta last February. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Jakarta. A controversial bill proposed by an Islamic political party that will dictate how husbands, wives, and family members behave has stalled at the House of Representatives after the National Democratic party gave a key vote that complete a pushback from nationalist parties.

Supratman Andi Agtas, the chairman of the House's Legislation Body, said that five parties, which combined control two-thirds of the seats in the chamber, rejected the so-called Family Resilience Bill on Tuesday. 

"The Legislation Body cannot proceed to further discussion of this bill because five factions rejected and only for accepted it," Supratman said. 

Surya Paloh's National Democratic (Nasdem) party gave the decisive vote to reject the bill on Tuesday after its indecision led to an impasse last week.


The Legislation Body needs a unanimous or majority votes from the factions to put a bill in the National Legislation Program—a list of bills that the House and the government will deliberate in the next meeting period—as an initiative from legislators. 

Among the bill's controversial articles, one requires anyone to turn in family members engaging in the same sex, incest, masochism, or sadism sexual activities to a government body for rehabilitation. The bill also sought to put household chores and family unity responsibilities on the wives.

The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), a conservative Islamic party, first proposed the Family Resilience bill in 2015. It failed to take off past the House's own deliberation, as the oppositions argued many of the bill's articles overlap with existing laws. 

PKS, with support from Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), and Prabowo Subianto's Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra), revived the initiative and submitted a new draft to the Legislative body last December. The United Development Party (PPP) later backed the bill. 

Golkar later backtracked its support and joined Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democrat Party to reject the bill. The National Awakening Party, an Islamic party with a moderate platform, has also opposed the bill. 

Golkar lawmaker Nurul Arifin said several draft changes made the bill not urgent to support. One change in the bill gave power to the government to record any family conflicts or problems. 

"The article allows the government to gather very intimate information on every family [in Indonesia]," Nurul said last week.

Another article in the bill also legitimated businesses' or community organizations' involvement in private family matters, Nurul said. 

"We are a heterogeneous society that cannot possibly be uniform, especially regarding household affairs. Each family has its own way of organizing its household," she said.

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