Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s president, has just ordered his government to postpone the ratification of a portion of the criminal code that would make it illegal for citizens and foreign visitors to engage in extramarital sex and pre-marital cohabitation. It would also make insulting the president a crime punishable by three years in prison.
The proposed law provoked widespread anger across the country, with over 500,000 people signing a petition calling for Jokowi, as the president is known, to block the bill’s passage.
The Guardian reported that during a news conference, the president claimed the bill needed further review, saying, “I have ordered the law and human rights minister to convey this decision to parliament, to delay the confirmation of the criminal code bill.”
Activists believe the passage of these laws would be a huge step back for women, religious, and sexual minorities.
The massive number of signatures the petition has received highlights the growing concern about a shift toward fundamentalism, and the desire of the Indonesian people for their country to remain tolerant and progressive.