Indonesian Ulema Council Requests Court to Reject Interfaith Marriage

Vice Secretary of the Law and Human Rights Commission of the Indonesian Ulema Council Arovah Windiani testifying virtually at the material judicial review hearing of Law No. 1 of 1974 on Marriage, Wednesday (6/15/2021). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 | 16:01 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The provisions of Article 2 paragraphs (1) and (2) as well as Article 8 letter f of the Marriage Law are constitutional and not against the 1945 Constitution since it has strong authoritative sources—paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution and Article 29 paragraphs (1) and (2) of the 1945 Constitution. On this basis, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) requested that the Court examined the case and ruled to reject the Petitioner’s petition in its entirety.

The statement was made by the Vice Chairman of the Law and Human Rights Commission of the MUI Syaeful Anwar at the material 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 Wednesday, June 15, 2022. The plenary hearing for the case No. 24/PUU-XIX/2022 was presided over by Chief Justice Anwar Usman alongside the other eight constitutional justices.

The MUI asserted that marriage was not only a matter of civil law, but also religious law. Interfaith marriage as requested by the Petitioner would take Indonesians back to the colonial period where legal marriage overrode religious law. The MUI also believed human rights issue in the Marriage Law, which the Petitioner questioned, was not something that was completely free in Indonesia, as its culture differed from that in other countries.

“The MUI is of the opinion that Indonesia ought to respect the struggle of the nation’s founders in discussing the Marriage Law, which almost led to conflict,” Syaeful stressed.

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

MUI’s Role and Function

Meanwhile, the Vice Secretary of the Law and Human Rights Commission of the MUI Arovah Windiani said that, as an official legal entity, the MUI serves to provide fatwas to the Islamic community, the state, and the government. As such, it is in service of the people and acts as the government’s partner in protecting the people for strengthening the state. It aims at realizing a safe, just, and prosperous society and country.

“Therefore, the MUI is a forum that represent Muslims in interfaith relations and consulting. Thus, this petition will clearly influence the MUI’s main duties, function, and role,” Arovah said.

In the MUI’s opinion, she added, the Petitioner’s wish for interfaith marriage implied potential loss but he was not aware of the statutory laws as “intend to marry” means that the marriage had not taken place. The MUI questioned the Petitioner’s argument and asserted that the marriage could be canceled.

“The MUI is also of the opinion that the argument of human rights and religious freedom was potential. Thus, the petition did not meet the Constitutional Court Regulation. Therefore, the MUI as the Relevant Party requests that the Court declare the Petitioner’s petition inadmissible,” she explained.

Also read: Petitioner of Provision on Interfaith Marriage Reduces Object

Disregarding Sacred Teachings

Next, a member of the Law and Human Rights Commission of the MUI Helmi Al Djufri said the state regulated provisions regarding marriage to respect the religious laws and beliefs of each religious community in Indonesia. Marriage is the first step to forming a family, so the state has a role to respect it. The MUI believed the Petitioner’s argument that the state was hampering his human rights by not recognizing interfaith marriage was inaccurate. Massive interfaith marriages in Indonesia, Helmi said, would disregard the sacredness of religious laws in this country.

“Legally in Indonesia, religion also plays a role in lawmaking, thus it would be contradictory if religious teachings were given free rein to disregard sacred religious teachings. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court’s role is the guardian of state ideology. Thus, the Petitioner’s request of legitimating interfaith marriage would allow legal manipulation for the prospective [bride and groom]. Therefore, this argument did not signify constitutionality issue of the norms,” he explained.

Also read: House’s and Govt’s Stance on Interfaith Marriage 

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 6/16/2022 09:43 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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 | 16:01 WIB 412