National

Atheism, same-sex marriage
forbidden in Indonesia:
Justice candidate

A Constitutional Court justice candidate, Arief Hidayat, said on Monday that atheism and same-sex marriage should be prohibited in Indonesia because they were based on values that contradicted the country’s ideology of Pancasila and the1945 Constitution.

“Indonesia is a religious nation; so, religious freedom in this country must uphold theistic principles. The discussion about religious freedom here, therefore, is not about whether Indonesians may be atheists. All Indonesians should be believers,”Arief told lawmakers on Monday during a fit-and-proper test at House of Representatives' Commission III overseeing legal affairs and human rights.

Arief's comments were in response to a question posed by Golkar Party lawmaker Poempida Hidayatullah, who asked him about his stance on religious freedom and how he would respond to requests to legalize same-sex marriage.

Arief, a professor of law at Diponegoro University in Semarang, Central Java, added that if selected, he would oppose same-sex marriage because it was based on values that were not in line with the Constitution.

“The idea can be accepted in the United States but not here because, theologically, Indonesia defines marriages as being between a man and a woman,” he said.

Lawmaker Adang Daradjatun from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) posed another question to Arief, asking him whether or not Indonesia should comply with the universal human rights standards as laid down by the United Nations. He replied “no”, arguing that Indonesia had its own cultural norms.

“Indonesia should implement human rights that are compatible with the local context instead of unconditionally implementing these so-called universal values,” he emphasized.

Arief is one of three candidates competing to become Constitutional Court chief justice, replacing Mahfud MD, whose tenure ends in April. Other candidates include Djafar Albram, a lecturer from Borobudur University, and Sugianto, a lecturer of sharia law at Gunung Jati State Islamic University. (ebf)

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