Women call for revised marriage law

Chelluz Pahun, Jakarta, Indonesia

February 28, 2012

Women are urging the government to revise what they say is an outdated marriage law, thereby affording more protection to children born out of wedlock, and bringing it into line with a recent decision by the constitutional court. According to Kunthi Tridewiyanti, head of the legal reform and policy desk at the National Commission on Violence against Women, current laws regarding “illegitimate” children allow men to walk away without any legal responsibility, since their names are not entered on the birth certificate. Speaking yesterday, she said this clause in the marriage law – introduced in 1974 -- should now be brought into line with a recent ruling made by the constitutional court. The clause should now read: Children born outside of marriage should have a civil relationship with their mother and her family as well as with their father and his family as long as he can be proven to be the biological paternal parent, she said.