Your annual Bali trip is about to become slightly less sexy as the Indonesian government seeks to ban premarital sex in the country.
The amendments to the country’s current law is expected to be passed within the week, which means no more holiday fuccs for you unless you put a ring on it.
According to 9News, the new law seeks to ban living together before mariage, contraception under the age of 18 and the abortion pill as well as premarital sex. Under the proposed ban, a maximum prison sentence of one year can be applied for anyone who has sex out of wedlock.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has already updated the Smart Traveller website to advise tourists of the new law and how it will impact them.
“A large number of laws may change and these will also apply to foreign residents and visitors, including tourists.”
The revised Criminal Code will not be enforced until two years after it has been passed, so you might not have to save the Bali vacay for the honeymoon just yet.
According to the Smart Traveller website, “adultery or sex outside of marriage, encompassing all same-sex sexual relations” as well as “cohabitation outside of marriage” and “indecent acts carried out in public” will all be criminal offences that apply to tourists.
But experts have mixed opinions on exactly how much Aussie travellers will be impacted by the ban.
“The extra marital sex provision is new to Indonesia, it will create huge problems for foreigners if it’s enforced, though Indonesia is awash with laws that are never enforced,” Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society Tim Lindsey said.
“Will tourists have to take marriage certificates to Indonesia? This also exposes foreigners to extortion. It would be easy for a police officer in Bali to say ‘you aren’t married, you have to pay me’. That’s a quite likely scenario,” Lindsey said.
Although it will likely have a minimal effect on tourists and foreigners, the new laws will likely impact tourism in the area dramatically.
“I don’t think these legislators understand that although these laws largely won’t be applied to foreigners, they don’t get that it will have an effect on tourism,” Aaron Connelly from Singapore’s International Institute for Strategic Studies said, according to Daily Telegraph.
Despite all of the concerns from international agencies, the head of Bali’s tourism board Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana seems to think the change in laws will have a minor impact, if any, on tourists.
“We are not worried, the law requires a person to report such case. As a tourism destination we have to also observe international law. Overseas, often [civil] partnerships instead of marriage is the norm,” he said. “Bali has always welcomed all tourists, we will continue to do so, even with a new penal code.”
I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the new laws effect Aussies once they’re passed later in the week.
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