DDII: Petitioner’s Arguments on Interfaith Marriage Legally Groundless

Abdullah Al Katiri, the legal counsel of the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Council, a Relevant Party of case No. 24/PUU-XX/2022 on the material judicial review hearing of Law No. 16 of 2019 on Marriage, Monday (6/27/2021). Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.

Monday, July 18, 2022 | 15:44 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The regulation of human rights in the 1945 Constitution can be limited by a law that regulates the implementation of those rights in accordance with morality, religious values, security, and public order. As such, no single human rights in Indonesia is absolute and without limits.

The statement was made by Abdullah Al Katiri, the legal counsel of the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Council (DDII), a Relevant Party 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 Monday, July 18, 2022. The hearing for case No. 24/PUU-XIX/2022, presided over by Chief Justice Anwar Usman and the other eight constitutional justices in the plenary courtroom, took place virtually.

Abdullah said that the Petitioner’s arguments for the legalization of interfaith marriage had been weak and legally groundless, and it showed his unfamiliarity with the Indonesian law.

“Human rights are not individualistic freedoms. The Preamble to the 1945 Constitution has mentioned that there are normative sources for the positive law in Indonesia,” he explained.

He further explained that human rights can be classified into civil, political, economic, and sociocultural rights as well as rights to development and other special rights. There are rights that cannot be reduced without exception, such as the rights to live, to be free from abuse, of independence of thought, of religion, to be free from slavery, and to be recognized as an individual before the law. The regulation of human rights in the 1945 Constitution has been balanced. Restriction of human rights can be determined by legislation only to respect the rights of others. Abdullah also emphasized that human rights in Indonesia come from and to Pancasila. For Indonesians, fulfilling human rights does not mean to do so without any limitation, but in accordance with Pancasila.

“Therefore, the Petitioner’s argument based on Article 28D paragraph (1) and Article 29 paragraph (1) and paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution was forced and showed ignorance of the regulation of human rights, which is implemented comprehensively in the 1945 Constitution. Human rights regulation on marriage has been asserted by the Constitutional Court on June 18, 2015 in the decision for case No. 68/PUU-XII/2014. In essence, the state issues regulations in accordance with religious values, morality, and public order. Therefore, interfaith marriage in fact leads to legal uncertainty. The Court also believed that every citizen’s action in relation to religion and marriage falls under constitutional rights,” he said.

Church’s Dispensation

At the hearing, Gerald Ginting, a witness for the Petitioner, testified to his experience of having an interfaith marriage. He revealed the procedure that he and his wife had undergone to be able to marry. He asserted that any sacred act must be performed correctly, in the eye of both the law and religion. Therefore, he asked the Church for a dispensation.

He admitted that his interfaith marriage was driven by his and his wife’s intention to maintain their faiths. However, since Indonesia did not accommodate that, after discussion with both their families, they asked the Church for a dispensation. After several months, the Church granted a dispensation and he wed in the Church and registered his marriage legally.

“That’s the loophole for the marriage. Thanks to the Church’s dispensation, we got married in the Catholic church. There were no special requirements to submit a request [for dispensation]. I don’t know the requirements. I just submitted it and after some time it was accepted and we could get married,” he said.

Gerald admitted that there were negative responses to his interfaith marriage, but he believed that marriage was a commitment between husband and wife for a shared mission of forming a good, prosperous, and happy family.

Before concluding the hearing, Justice Anwar informed the litigants that the next hearing would take place on Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 11:00 WIB to hear two experts for the Petitioner.

Also read:

Failed to Have Interfaith Marriage, Citizen Challenges Marriage Law

Petitioner of Provision on Interfaith Marriage Reduces Object

House’s and Govt’s Stance on Interfaith Marriage

Interfaith Marriage in International and Islamic Laws

Indonesian Ulema Council Requests Court to Reject 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 felt that his 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 two 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 7/21/2022 08:18 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, July 18, 2022 | 15:44 WIB 455