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44 Am. J. Comp. L. 45 (1996)
Legislating Social Change in an Islamic Society - Indonesia's Marriage Law

handle is hein.journals/amcomp44 and id is 51 raw text is: MARK CAMMACK
LAWRENCE A. YOUNG
TIM HEATON
Legislating Social Change in an Islamic Society-
Indonesia's Marriage Law
In 1974 Indonesia, the world's most populace Islamic country,
passed a National Marriage Act,1 the first legislative revision of the
country's marriage and divorce law. Prior to the passage of the law,
the marriage and divorce of Indonesia's majority Muslim population
was governed exclusively by the unamended rules of Islamic law.
Although a statute passed in 1946 required registration of marriages,
reconciliations, and divorces, prior to 1974 there had been no legisla-
tive interference with the substance of Islamic marriage rules.
Among the government's purposes in proposing marriage legisla-
tion were limiting arbitrary divorce and polygamy and eliminating or
reducing child marriage.2 To accomplish those objectives the Act re-
stricted a Muslim husband's power unilaterally to repudiate his wife
or to take a second wife by requiring judicial approval and statutory
grounds for both divorce and polygamy. The Act also required that
marriage be based on the consent of the parties, that persons mar-
rying under the age of 21 have parental consent to marry, and im-
posed a minimum marriage age of 16 for girls and 19 for boys.
MARK CAMMACK is Professor, Southwestern University School of Law. Research for
this article was supported by a travel grant from the Southeast Asia Council of the
Association for Asian Studies and a summer research grant from Southwestern Uni-
versity School of Law.
LAWRENCE A. YOUNG is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Brigham Young University.
Research for this article was supported by a research grant from the David M. Ken-
nedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University.
TIM HEATON is Professor of Sociology, Brigham Young University. Research for this
article was supported by a research grant from the David M. Kennedy Center for
International Studies at Brigham Young University.
1. The Act is designated as Law No. 1/1974 (Indon.). The statute and other pri-
mary legal materials are on file with the first author. Descriptions of the Marriage
Act in English are available in Hanifa, The Law of Marriage and Divorce in Indone-
sia, Islamic & Comp. L.Q. 14 (No. 1, 1983) and Soewondo, The Indonesian Marriage
Law and its Implementing Regulations, 13 Archipel 284 (1977).
2. This goal was stated in paragraph 4 of the official elucidation to the statute.
The elucidation, which accompanies most legislative enactments, is accorded consid-
erable weight in interpreting the statute. See Damien & Hornick, Indonesia's Formal
Legal System: An Introduction, 20 Am. J. Comp. L. 492, 528 (1972).

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