Law Banning Sex Outside Marriage Will Not Be Imposed on Tourists in Bali, Says Governor as Tourism Industry Faces Threat

Days after reports about Indonesia's parliament likely to pass a new criminal code penalizing sex outside marriage, Bali governor confirmed that the ban will not be imposed on the tourists. The newly approved criminal code had received a lot of reactions from the social media users.

Representational Image/ Twitter

"Those Who Visit or Live in Bali Would Not Need to Worry"

As reported previously, the legislative overhaul will also ban insulting the president or state institutions and expressing any views counter to Indonesia's state ideology. In addition, cohabiting of unwed couples will also be banned as part of the new criminal code.

However, the latest move appears to have been taken after sensing a threat to the tourism industry of the country. The Guardian reported that in a statement issued Bali's governor Wayan Koster assured the tourists that they will be exempted from the revised laws.

Stating that the new laws, which come into effect in three years, could only be prosecuted if there was a complaint by a parent, spouse or child, Koster said that those who "visit or live in Bali would not need to worry with regard to the entry into force of the Indonesian Criminal Code."

The governor further revealed that the provisions in the criminal code have been revised so as to "provide a better guarantee of everyone's privacy and comfortableness."

"Bali's government would ensure there will be no checking on marital status upon check-in at any tourism accommodation, such as hotels, villas, apartments, guest houses, lodges and spas," Wayan said.

Social Media Reacts

The recent laws invited a lot of reactions from the social media users who claimed that the decision would directly impact the tourism industry of the country.

"Indonesia appears to be serious about banning sex before marriage so be prepared for your girlfriend having to prove her virginity to the authorities. This should have already caused international outrage and booking cancellations for Bali as a holiday destination," a user tweeted.

"Any tourist that goes to Bali intending to ignore the country's sex laws is just asking for trouble," wrote another.

"I was once a frequent traveller to #Bali -- but no more, I won't support a government that outlaws sex!" read a tweet.

"Nah Bali won't be on any shows for a while with their new pre-marital sex law," expressed a user.

"Possibly. COVID hit tourism hard. But I'm not going to trust a country that makes me prove I'm having sex with my husband, and undoubtedly makes certain things — even between a married couple — illegal. Bali is beautiful. Its prisons are not," voiced another user.