Gay men and women living in a strict Islamic province of Indonesia are going to be publicly lashed 100 times under a proposed bylaw backed by politicians.
Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, the Banda Aceh Deputy Mayor, is calling for harsher bylaws against gay people as it is against the district’s adherence to sharia law.
Djamal, who has called homosexuality ‘a social disease that should be eradicated, has complained police are unable to punish gay people under current rules.
‘There is no law that could be used to charge them,’ she told The Jakarta Globe.
‘The existing [regulations] only stipulate about khalwat [being in close proximity] for intimate relations between unmarried males and females.’
The deputy mayor said it was when she saw a 2012 survey about HIV rates in Aceh.
It was not the findings that bothered her particularly, but she was concerned some respondents to the survey said they were gay.
Djamal said: ‘Even if one case of homosexuality is found, it’s already a problem.
‘We are really concerned about the behavior and activities of the gay community because their behavior is deviating from the Islamic sharia.’
Gay rights advocates have slammed the proposed bylaw, calling it a ‘move backward for civilization’.
‘We’re living in 2013, not in the Middle Ages,’ said Hartoyo, secretary-general for Our Voice, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group.
‘It’s sad to have a deputy mayor who think that way… other countries have started to allow homosexual marriage, why come up with such an idea to punish the LGBT community?’
He called Djamal’s idea for a punishment, 100 lashes with a cane, a ‘punishment from the old ages’.
Hartoyo said: ‘People are born as transgenders and homosexuals. What’s the reason to punish them? Punishing them means she could not appreciate God’s creations.’
In 2002, the Indonesian Government gave Aceh the right to introduce sharia law, and currently bans gay sex, anal sex, lesbians, sexual harassment and other pornographic acts.