Bali gay wedding gets mixed reaction
Ni Komang Erviani
The Jakarta Post
Photos of two men who were married in a traditional wedding ceremony at a five star hotel in Ubud, Bali, have been circulating on social media and have received mixed reactions.
In one of the photos, the happy couple, who wore pink beskap (traditional suits) and blue sarongs, stood holding hands in front of a Hindu priest who was believed to have led the ceremony.
In another photo, one of the men, believed to be Indonesian, apparently asked for his parents' blessing as he hugged his mother while his father sat beside them, and his spouse, believed to be a foreigner, stood nearby.
The couple also displayed their happiness, hugging and touching foreheads in another photo. All of the photos were given the hashtag #loveknowsnolimits.
'The most beautiful moments of the wedding [...] I am so very happy for both of you [...] Nothing beats Mom's blessings and you're both very lucky to have such a loving and accepting Mom [...],' wrote an account user who uploaded the photos.
Commenting on the photos and the public reaction, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Dianto Bachriadi said everybody had the right to be married and form a family and that sexual orientation was a private matter which should be respected.
'In the human rights context, of course, the rights of everybody should be respected. But upholding rights should not diminish other people's rights. Upholding rights should not create social restlessness,' Dianto told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
He admitted that same-sex marriage was not recognized in Indonesia, but said the rights of minority groups, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, should be protected.
'If it [the marriage] is true, whoever spread the photos is not correct in the context of Indonesian culture. They should respect Balinese culture and tradition,' he added.
Earlier, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said Hinduism forbid same-sex marriage, urging the Grand Council of Customary Villages (MUDP) to take action.
'It's not allowed according to the Hindu religion. If [the marriage] is true, we should warn them. Where was it?' Pastika said in response to reporters' questions.
Meanwhile, the Bali Wedding Association (BWA), which often organizes wedding ceremonies for foreign tourists on the island, has urged the government to investigate reports of the gay marriage.
'Responding to the recent reports in social media, print and online media on same-sex marriage, we have issued an official statement, urging the government to follow up on the reports and process them according to the law,' BWA spokesperson Yano Sumampow said in Denpasar on Wednesday.
Yano said that the BWA called on its members and other wedding businesses in Indonesia to obey existing laws, adding that violations of the law should be viewed as the individual responsibility of business owners.
'If the violators of the law were our members, we would not hesitate to firmly warn or even fire them according to our internal regulations and hand it over to the authorities,' Yano said.
Previously, politicians and officials, including Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, expressed their opposition to gay marriage, saying it was unacceptable in Indonesia because of religious norms, in response to the recent recognition of gay marriage by the US Supreme Court.
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