In the words of Ted Mosby, a hopeless romantic and fictional character on the US television sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” love should be easy. Of course there should be some effort here and there, but in the end, love and falling in love should be easy.
Love is easy for Randy and Andina. They’re a loving heterosexual couple, planning to go umroh — a minor Islamic pilgrimage — together with their parents. And by the end of the year, their love will be bonded by legal marriage.
Love should also be easy for Indah and John. They’re both functioning heterosexuals in their prime, both with promising careers and bright futures. Blessings from their respective parents are not a disapproving factor, but something is still bothering the couple.
No, it’s not because John is an Australian and Indah is a full-bred Indonesian. Faith has gotten in the way. The former santri (Islamic boarding school student) Indah isn’t willing to convert to Christianity, and neither is John to Islam. Love should have been easy for them, but it turns out to be a catastrophe instead.
Love for Dhani and Donny is sacred yet a never-ending battle. Nevertheless, they are head over heels for each other. Nothing seems to get in their way besides their parents, and of course, the society. The same goes for Lia and Desti. The couples are so crazily in love, legal status doesn’t seem to bother the pair. No, it’s not because they’re unwilling to marry — the law forbids same-sex couple from doing so. Love for those couples is always in their hearts, but never in their legal status.
For Imran and Mira, love is merely a concept. As evangelical atheists, something ineffable like love, by the naked science, is preposterous to the couple. Yet they experience it. Fueled by whatever feeling they’re experiencing, they decided to get married legally in this religion-driven country. Love, for them, is merely a scientific game.
For lovers, there isn’t a more pleasurable feeling than the ability to celebrate their love. And what is a better way to celebrate their love than to manifest it in holy matrimony? Sadly, there are some hurdles they might find in Undang-Undang Perkawinan (Marriage Law), especially in the first two articles. Article 1 says: “Marriage is a physical and spiritual bond between a man and a woman as husband and wife to form a happy and eternal family according to God Almighty.” Article 2 paragraph 1 says: “A marriage shall be deemed legitimate if it is conducted according to their respective religions and beliefs.”
Some might say the articles are the source of all evil in marriage.
Randy and Andina, the heterosexual couple, won’t find any problems concerning the legality of their marriage. The same faith marriages are what the society, and apparently the law, call an ideal marriage. But what is in store for the other couples?
Dhani-Donny and Lia-Desti, however, are forbidden to wed, as it will be a breach to the first article of the Marriage Law of 1974. Some might say the only way they can legally wed is if one of them changes their sex, but are you forgetting a process called judicial review?
Such a hassle just to celebrate something so sacred. But unfair as it may seem, that’s what the law says. “Lex dura sed tamen scripta” (“The law is written, but hard.”)
It is a curious case for Indah and John, an interfaith couple, thought there are many couples that happen to marry while coming from different faiths. But is it legal according to the law? To be noticed, the law doesn’t forbid interfaith marriage per se. No, the law merely states that a marriage is legal, if it is legal according to the respective religions. As far as I know, Islam and Christianity forbid their believers to marry people with other faiths. Seems like a dead end for Indah and John. But is it, really?
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t recommend getting married abroad just to legalize interfaith marriage. Because frankly, it’s still not legal once you come back to Indonesia. There is formal law and substantive law when it comes to marriage. And while you might fulfill the formal law, substantively it’s still a breach of Article 2 section (1) of the Marriage Law. So if I were Indah and John’s lawyer, I wouldn’t recommend the action of getting married.
There’s another trick called evasion of law (penyelundupan hukum), but it conflicts and defeats the whole purpose interfaith marriage endorsers. But that’s be a topic for another discussion.
As for Imran and Mira, both atheists, the only way they can wed legally is to succumb to a single word imprinted in their Identification Card. The single word that they despise the most: Religion. Now that’s a laughing stock I’d like to experience.
So I guess it really is true when they say, “You can’t marry out of love alone,” isn’t it?