Travellers Cancel Holidays After Bali Sex Ban Proposed
The new laws have not been passed yet, but proposed changes put forward by authorities would ban unmarried couples from having sex or living together on the island. Bali does not recognise same-sex marriage, so all LGBTQ+ unions would be banned under the new laws.
The 'Revised Criminal Code' would also mean that insulting religion, the state or the president would also be outlawed.
If the changes to the laws are passed it would potentially have a huge impact on the tourist industry, which is one of the main sources of income for the local economy.
Elizabeth Travers, an Australian businesswoman, runs 30 villas across Bali and said she has already been dealing with cancellations from worried customers.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph she said: "The law has not even changed yet and I have already received cancellations. One client said they no longer trust coming to Bali because they are not married."
She believes the laws could be even more damaging to tourism than terrorism and volcano eruptions
She added: "I have traded through two bombings and multiple nature disasters and think that if the central government is serious about enforcing such laws, the tourism industry would be destroyed and trigger the end of life in Bali as we know it."
President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo called for the House of Representatives to halt passing the bill after realising the extent of the public's concerns.
Locals as well as businesses and travellers have objected to certain amendments in the bill, with the president saying the changes will be 'thoroughly reviewed'.
Jokowi said: "I have ordered the Law and Human Rights Ministry to convey [my] stance to the House, that the passing of the Criminal Code bill into law should be postponed and that the bill should not be passed during the current sitting period.
"I hope the House is on the same page about this matter so that the deliberation of the Criminal Code bill be continued (by lawmakers) in the next period."
Human rights organisations have said the changes would violate the rights of women, religious minorities, the LGBTQ community and freedom of speech.
The country is known for its strict legal system, particularly its zero tolerance policy on drugs and laws the prohibit gambling and adultery.
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