Failed to Have Interfaith Marriage, Citizen Challenges Marriage Law

The Petitioner’s legal counsel conveying the Petitioner’s arguments at the preliminary hearing of the judicial review of the Marriage Law, Wednesday (3/16/2022). Photo by Humas MK/Ilham W. M.

Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 08:51 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The Constitutional Court (MK) held the preliminary hearing of the judicial review of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage as amended by Law No. 16 of 2019 on the Amendment to Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The case No. 24/PUU-XIX/2022 was filed by E. Ramos Petege, who believes Article 2 paragraphs (1) and (2) as well as Article 8 letter f of the Marriage Law contradict Article 28D paragraph (1) and Article 29 paragraphs (1) and (2) of the 1945 Constitution.

Article 2 paragraph (1) of the Marriage Law reads, “A marriage shall be legitimate, if it has been performed according to the laws of the respective religions and beliefs of the parties concerned.” Article 2 paragraph (2) reads, “Each marriage shall be registered according to the regulations of the legislation.” Meanwhile, Article 8 letter f reads, “[A marriage shall be prohibited between to people that] have a relationship that, by religion or other statutory regulations, are forbidden to marry.”

Ni Komang Tari Padmawati, one of the Petitioner’s legal counsel, said the Petitioner is a Catholic citizen who would like to marry a Muslim woman. However, interfaith marriage is not accommodated by the Marriage Law. Thus, the Petitioner feels his constitutional rights have been impaired.

“The Petitioner lost his freedom of religion and faith, because if he wishes to marry, there will be coerced conversion of [either the bride or the groom]. In addition, he also lost his freedom to have offspring by forming a family based on free will,” Ni Komang asserted. The other counsels—Asima Romian Angelina, Hans Poliman, and Dixon Sanjaya—were also in attendance.

Religion-State Relation

Asima Romian Angelina explained the background of the petition that as a rule of law based on the belief in One Almighty God, the state cannot separate religious and state affairs. However, she added, it does not mean that the state is based on one particular religion because freedom of religion is the right of all citizens without exception. Therefore, the Petitioner believe religious and state affairs must be separated and state intervention on religious affairs must be limited to administrative affairs in relation to facilities and infrastructure.

“This means that the state does not interfere with religious issues in Indonesia, but guarantees the act of worship,” she said before the panel—Constitutional Justices Wahiduddin Adams (panel chair), Suhartoyo, and Enny Nurbaningsih.

Therefore, in the petitum, the Petitioner requested that the Court declare Article 2 paragraph (1) of the Marriage Law to not have any provision on interfaith marriage so that such a provision should be added. He also requested that the Court add in Article 2 paragraph (2) of the Marriage Law: “An inter-religion and interfaith marriage can be carried out by selecting one of the implementation methods based on the the bride and groom’s free will with affirmation before a court.”

Reason for Marriage Restriction

Constitutional Justice Suhartoyo advised the Petitioner to elaborate his concrete case and explain what has restricted him from marrying. He also asked the Petitioner to include a crucial reason for his request for court affirmation in the case of Article 2 paragraph (2) of the Marriage Law.

“Why must it be through the court? Which court? Give a reason that the affirmation for Muslims should be in the Religious Court, while for non-Muslims in the District Court,” he asked.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Justice Enny Nurbaningsih said the Petitioner should focus on what he requests, because in the petition he asserted that several norms are in violation of the 1945 Constitution. Thus, the unconstitutionality of the norms must be explained. She also advised the Petitioner to review his petition to avoid ne bis in idem or similarity with previous petitions.

“The legal standing is still very obscure because there has not been any elaborative explanation of the constitutional impairment and the issue that the Petitioner faces. Explain it one by one,” she recommended.

Last, Constitutional Justice Wahiduddin Adams offered an advice on the part on the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction, which was mentioned without quoting the norms petitioned. He also advised that the quote on experts’ views be made coherent with the object of the petition.

Writer        : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Nur Rosihin Ana
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 3/17/2022 11:40 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 08:51 WIB 588