‘No Marital Check’ For Foreign Tourists, Confirms Indonesian Governor As Country Brings New Sex Laws

After Indonesia’s new criminal code outlawing sex outside marriage was passed, Balinese officials confirmed that tourists will remain unaffected by the code which comes into force in 2025.

Indonesian island’s governor Wayan Koster said there would be no ‘checks on marital status’ for foreigners booking hotels and rentals on the island, with tourists not expected to abide by the new rules, reported the Independent.

Koster and the government spokesperson Albert Aries have tried to offer reassurance to tourists stressing the new laws are only applicable to residents. “Bali is business as usual – comfortable and safe to visit,” said the governor.

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“We look forward to welcoming visitors with our Balinese hospitality and advise all parties not to deliver misleading statements regarding the Indonesian criminal code that might disrupt Bali tourism.”

What’s the new legislation all about?

The legislation which was cleared last week will make sex and cohabitation outside of marriage illegal for locals. Sex outside of marriage will be punishable by up to a year of jail time, the report added. However, tourists won’t have to abide by the provisions of the new law. Koster said, “There will be no checks on marital statuses at tourist accommodations like hotels, villas, guest houses or spas, or inspections by public officials or community groups,” clarified the governor.

According to the officials cited in the report, the new code will come into effect from 2025.

The new legislation, which was first floated in 2019 triggered nationwide protests. Gay rights activists say the extra-marital laws amount to a ban on same-sex relations since lesbian and gay Indonesians cannot legally marry.

Apart from this, the new code also bans insulting or speaking contrary to the Indonesian government, and makes protests illegal without protestors adequately “notifying” authorities beforehand.

On Thursday, the UN issued a statement saying certain provisions in the new code were “incompatible with fundamental freedoms and human rights, including the right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law without discrimination, the rights to privacy as well as the rights to freedom of religion or belief and freedom of opinion and expression”.