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Jakarta Post

Ending early marriage

  • The Jakarta Post

  /   Tue, September 17 2019   /  01:07 am

One piece of good news to come out of last week was the agreement of most lawmakers to increase the legal age of marriage to 19. This means the House of Representatives should gain enough support to revise the 1974 Marriage Law that states females can marry at the age of 16 and males at 19; they can marry even earlier when courts issue “legal dispensation”. Surveys have shown that despite widely held assumptions, such dispensation has not largely been issued because the girl has become pregnant, thus leading embarrassed parents to request such permission. Traditions in several parts of Indonesia have enabled the continued, rampant practice of child marriage, even among well-off families, with the support of the law passed 45 years ago, when many children were married off or betrothed even younger. Out of the 10 House factions, only the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the United De...