House’s and Govt’s Stance on Interfaith Marriage

Chief Justice Anwar Usman opening the material judicial review hearing of Law No. 16 of 2019 on Marriage, Monday (6/6/2022). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

Monday, June 6, 2022 | 22:41 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The conditions determined by the religion of the prospective bride and groom determines the validity of a marriage. The state has an administrative obligation to register marriages through legislation, said House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III member Arsul Sani at the judicial review hearing 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 Monday, June 6, 2022 in the Constitutional Court (MK). The plenary hearing for the case No. 24/PUU-XIX/2022 was chaired by Chief Justice Anwar Usman.

Arsul explained further that the administrative documentation by the state aims to make marriage an important legal act in the life of every citizen that has implications for future legal consequences. Therefore, it is imperative that the rights arising from a marriage be protected by the state. It is thus clear that this provision emphasizes respect for religious teachings and beliefs of every citizen, which is used as a legal condition for marriage without any discrimination.

Next, Arsul responded to the Petitioner’s allegation that Article 2 paragraph (1) of the Marriage Law was religious coercion by the state on citizens on what should have been an option for prospective couples who will hold interfaith marriage. Arsul said that in accordance with the transcript of the session to discuss the bill, the legislators defined marriage by every religious adherent as the combination of elements of marriage according to the religious procedure, or religious marriage, and those of marriage according to the civil procedure that is carried out, recorded, and recognized by government officials, or civil marriage. Thus, the House was of the view that the Petitioner’s allegation was unfounded.

“Because the state serves to provide protection for every citizen to form a family and continue their bloodline through legal marriage and this is a manifestation and form of guaranteeing human survival. Thus, marriage cannot be seen from the formal aspect alone, but must from the spiritual and social aspects. Religion stipulates the validity of marriage, while the law stipulates the administrative legitimacy, which is carried out by the state,” he explained. 

Also read: Failed to Have Interfaith Marriage, Citizen Challenges Marriage Law

Different Marriage Laws

At the hearing, the Director-General for Islamic Community Guidance at the Ministry of Religion Kamaruddin , said on behalf of the Government that the Marriage Law had been established to provide a sense of justice and legal certainty for every adherent of religions and beliefs in carrying out marriage, according to the laws of their respective religions and beliefs because, in essence, the marriage law of every religion and belief in Indonesia is different, so it is impossible to equate marriage according to one religious law and belief with that of another.

“If this happens, it will certainly lead to discrimination against adherents of religions and beliefs in carrying out marriage,” he explained. 

Subject to Restrictions

Kamaruddin also explained that interfaith marriages are not allowed on the basis of human rights and freedoms. The Government is of the view that in exercising rights and freedoms, every citizen is obliged to comply with the restrictions stipulated by law in order to ensure the recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and to fulfill fair demands in accordance with morals, religious values, security, and public order in a democratic society. Thus, he added, it is impossible in a country based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, human rights and freedoms, that everyone can freely marry between different religions and beliefs.

“It could be that the implementation of marriage of different religions and beliefs will actually violate the constitutional rights of others, which should be respected and protected by everyone in the life of society, nation, and state,” he explained remotely. 

Also read: Petitioner of Provision on Interfaith Marriage Reduces Object

The case No. 24/PUU-XIX/2022 was filed by E. Ramos Petege, a Catholic who had intended to marry a Muslim woman. The union fell through because interfaith marriage was not accommodated by the Marriage Law. Consequently, the Petitioner’s constitutional rights were harmed.

He also felt harmed from losing freedom of religion and faith because if he wishes to have an interfaith marriage, either the bride or the groom will be coerced to convert. In addition, he also lost his freedom to have offspring by forming a family based on free will. The Petitioner challenges Article 2 paragraphs (1) and (2) as well as Article 8 letter f of the Marriage Law, which he believes 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.”

Writer       : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Raisa Ayuditha
Translator : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 6/7/2022 08:37 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.

Monday, June 06, 2022 | 22:41 WIB 373