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Supreme Court prohibition on interfaith marriage a setback for justice, Setara says

Tempo - July 20, 2023

M. Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta – Research organization SETARA Institute criticized Supreme Court's decision to prohibit Indonesian courts from granting any request to legalize interfaith marriage.

The decision was issued through a Supreme Court Circular Letter No. 2 of 2023 concerning Guidelines for Judges in Adjudicating Cases of Applications for Registration of Marriages between Different Religions and Beliefs.

According to SETARA, the circular is incompatible with the principle of diversity and Pancasila values upheld in Indonesia. "The circular is a setback for justice in Indonesia to ensure the rights of its diverse citizens," said the Executive Director of SETARA Institute Halili Hasan in his statement on Thursday, July 20, 2023.

Halili explained that the diverse nature of Indonesian citizens should have encouraged every branch of the government-executive, legislative, and judicial to honor, protect, and fulfill the inherently multifarious rights of their citizens. In fact, he said, South Jakarta District Court and Yogyakarta District Court have previously taken a progressive stance by permitting an interfaith marriage registration.

Meanwhile, the circular issued by the Supreme Court aggravated the state of Indonesia's failing democracy for the previous 5 years, including in the judicial branch. "Especially with the political pressure, for example from the Deputy Head of People's Consultative Assembly Yandri Susanto who came to the Supreme Court and asked it to annul the grant for interfaith marriage registration in the Jakarta Selatan District Court," said Halili.

The Supreme Court Circular Letter, signed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Muhammad Syarifuddin, ordered, "The court can't grant any request for registration of marriages between people of different religions and beliefs." The circular provided that marriage is considered legitimate if done according to the religion and beliefs held by the bride and the groom. The Supreme Court referred to Article 2 (1) and Article 8 (f) Law No. 1 of 1974 concerning Marriage.

The carbon copy of the circular was given to the Supreme Court Deputy of Judicial Affairs, the Supreme Court Deputy of non-Judicial Affairs, the Supreme Court Chief of Justices, and high-ranking officials in the Supreme Court.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1750211/supreme-court-prohibition-on-interfaith-marriage-a-setback-for-justice-setara-say