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Government asks Constitutional Court to reject judicial review of marriage law

Kompas.com - July 5, 2022

Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – The government has asked the Constitutional Court (MK) to reject a judicial review of law Number 1/1974 on Marriage. The law is being challenged by a person named E Ramos Petege – who is a Catholic – because he is unable to marry his beloved who is a Muslim.

The Religious Affairs Ministry's Director General for Islamic Social Guidance, Kamaruddin Amin, believes the current marriage law does not conflict with the 1945 Constitution (UU 1945).

Amin, is representing Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Qoumas and Home Affairs Minister Yasonna Laoly.

"[The government] rejects the petitioner's request for a judicial review in its entirety. Or at least states that the petitioner's request for a judicial review should not be accepted (niet ontvankelijk verklaard)", said Amin as during a court hearing on Tuesday July 5.

Amin said that the pretext for submitting the judicial review was that the state is not allowed to obstruct a person in exercising their human rights.

In this context, anyone who wants to get married, both those of the same as well as different religions, must be treated the same or not be discriminated against. The government however, continued Amin, rejects this pretext on all its grounds.

For example, the stipulations under Article 2 and Article 8(f) state that the marriage law provides a sense of justice and legal certainty for all religious followers and beliefs to get married in accordance with the religion or belief they follow.

This is because there are various different religions and beliefs which exist in Indonesia. Thus it is impossible to combine them into one marriage law according to one religion or belief.

Then, there are legal grounds related to marriage according to individual religious and beliefs which have prohibitions on interfaith marriages. For example, interfaith marriage is forbidden under Islamic religion.

"Under Islam, the prohibition on interfaith marriage is found in the Al Quran, the written traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as the principles of Islamic jurisprudence", explained Amin.

In addition to this, if it was regulated that there be one marriage law for all religions and beliefs which exist in Indonesia under one marriage law according to one religion's laws and beliefs, this would of course give rise to discrimination for the followers of other religions and beliefs in getting married.

Furthermore, said Amin, each follower of a religion and belief who is faithful would not of course deviate from the marriage laws regulated by the religion and faith that they follow.

In his challenge, Petege stated that their bond of matrimony was frustrated because he and his beloved followed different religions and beliefs, so they were not able proceed with the marriage.

According to Petege, the marriage law does not contain clear rules on interfaith marriages. This lack of legal certainty, he said, violates his constitutional rights.

"This of course resulted in the plaintiff losing his freedom in following his religion and belief because when he wanted to get married there was coercion, one of which was to submit to his beliefs, as well as the freedom to be able to produce offspring by forming a family which is based on free will which is noble", read a part of the request which was uploaded on the official Constructional Court website.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pemerintah Minta MK Tolak Uji Materi UU Perkawinan Soal Pernikahan Beda Agama".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2022/07/05/15474441/pemerintah-minta-mk-tolak-uji-materi-uu-perkawinan-soal-pernikahan-bed