Lawsuit Against Court for Legalizing Interfaith Marriage
07/04/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – In early March, news of a Muslim man marrying a Christian woman in a Catholic church in Indonesia went viral.
This news upset many Muslim believers who do not believe interfaith marriage should be legal in Indonesia. According to the highest Islamic court in Indonesia, the Ulema Council, the council’s fatwa, or religious edict, declares that interfaith marriage is forbidden. In response to the marriage, the Islamic court ruled the union to be invalid.
Soon after this ruling, the couple went to the Surabaya District Court located on the Indonesian island, Java, to demand the legalization of their marriage. The court ruled in favor of the couple, basing its decision on the Indonesian Marriage Law which states that “marriage can be valid if conducted according to the laws of religion and the beliefs of both parties.”
The district court’s decision, which surpasses the Muslim council’s ruling, was met by heavy backlash. Some opponents point to Indonesia’s law which states that a couple must come from the same faith background for their marriage to be legal.
As of June 23, four people came forward to sue the Surabaya District Court based on its ratification of interfaith marriage. The court accepted the lawsuit on June 27 with an expected trial to take place on July 13. Plaintiffs plan to demand the reversal of the court’s ruling which could annul the couple’s marriage.
In response, human rights activists have come forward to protest overturning the court’s ruling. They demand changes to the Indonesian Marriage Law so that there are no more ambiguities concerning the legality of interfaith marriage.
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