Archipelago

Lesbian marriage in Riau
Islands to be reported
to Religious Ministry

While same-sex marriage is technically illegal in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, gay and lesbian couples are occasionally able to find loopholes and get married, such as the case of Angga Sucipto, 21, and Ninies Ramiliyutias, 40.

Despite both being females, Angga was able to marry Ninies in January 2012 at the Sei Beduk Religious Affairs Office (KUA) in Riau Islands by pretending to be male.

“The administrative requirements for the marriage were complete, so there was no way we could forbid them from getting married,” said the head of the office, Budi Dharmawan, on Sunday.

The same-sex marriage went undetected by the locals, until they grew suspicious of Angga, who never interacted with them.

“Finally, on Monday, we raided the couple’s house and discovered that Angga was actually a female,” said Ricard Butar-Butar, a neighbor.

The locals then kicked Angga out of the house, while letting Ninien stay because she owned the house, Ricard said.

Ninien’s whereabouts, however, remain unknown as she also left the house after the raid, he added.

Following the discovery of the same-sex couple, the Riau Islands KUA plans to increase the frequency of marriage counseling to prevent similar cases from happening in the future, according to the office’s head, Handarlin Umar.

The office also planned to report the marriage to the Religious Ministry next Monday, he added.

“We are still deciding whether to file a report with the police. We will report the case to the ministry first to ask for guidance on how to proceed,” Handarlin said. (han)

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