Let's Ban Unregistered Marriages in Indonesia

The idea to criminalize couples who conduct an unregistered marriage is supported by many. Supreme Court chief justice Harifin A. Tumpa and Constitutional Court chief Mahfud M.D. support the idea. However, according to Kristi Poerwandari, founder of Pulih Foundation, this idea must be widely socialized so that women wouldn't be victimized by ignorance, Sunday, Jakarta.

Last Friday, Harifin A. Tumpa stated that he agrees if there is punishment for those who enter an unregistered marriage, or dubbed siri marriage. "So there will be order for the people." He also stated that this depends on the legislatures.

Kristi, a female activist and psychologist, admits to Kompas, Friday, that her opinion is split regarding the criminalization of those who deliberately conduct their marriage without notifying the civil registry, or a marriage by contract, or such other cases. She realizes that such a regulation is much needed for the protection of women.

However, if women don't understand this regulation, they'd end up being criminalized. "It's crucial to socialize that unregistered marriages are vulnerable and have negative impacts. That's more important (than the criminalization). Sometimes we make regulations, but give little explanations."

Kristi is aware of many unregistered marriage practices or marriages by contract. Such practice happens not only among the middle to lower classes, but also on women of the higher classes. She often sees problems encountered by such women who eventually have trouble trying to settle a child's birth certificate, and having to raise the child alone because the only registered parent is the mother, and other such cases besides.

The Constitutional Court chief Mahfud M.D. stated that he supports the implementation of any law to criminalize unregistered marriages. He stated such in response to the question regarding the legal draft for the Material Marriage Law of the Religion Court, which has been included in the 2010 national legislation program.