What You Should Know About Indonesia's New Law Banning Sex Outside Of Marriage

What You Should Know About Indonesia's New Law Banning Sex Outside Of Marriage

"I'm reading about this new law in Indonesia," my friend texted me. I initially shrugged off her mention of this new law until a CNN news alert appeared on my phone. "Indonesia's parliament is expected to pass a new criminal code this month that will penalize sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail, officials have confirmed to Reuters," the story read. And this law—lawmakers passed unanimously—applies to both Indonesians and tourists.

Say what now? After watching the awful ordeal of Brittney Griner play out, this is an enormous travel red flag, even for someone who usually travels solo. However, before we jump into the details, it's essential to know Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority nation and is known for having many local laws that are discriminatory against women, LGBTQ communities, and other religious groups. So the introduction of this law—which will take up to three years to implement—isn't all that surprising.

What does Indonesia's new sex laws mean for tourists in Bali?


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However, this is concerning because hotspots like Bali—the only non-muslim island in Indonesia—are at the top of travel bucket lists and are many digital nomads' homes away from home. But, like it or not, this picturesque island is still a part of Indonesia. So how does this new law affect a tourist's ability to enjoy a baecation or just exist and bask in the IG-worthy glory of luxe flower baths and meals floating to your poolside without fear?

Well, after the news of this law dropped, Bali's governor Wayan Koster shared the extramarital sex law won't affect tourists because it can only be prosecuted if reported by an immediate family member (think: parents, spouse, children, etc.) He also explained that Bali's accommodations would not be checking the marital status of guests at check-in. But the law is still the law.

With that said, before visiting any country, be sure to research their laws and keep them in mind when making travel plans because your safety and peace of mind are essential no matter where you are in the world.

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