Lesbians chased from Indonesian home for 'marrying'

(BATAM, INDONESIA) Two women who married in Indonesia by disguising themselves as a heterosexual couple were chased away from their village after neighbours discovered they were lesbians, community members said.

Neighbours raided the couple's home on Batam island near Singapore after growing suspicious that Musdalifa was a woman because he never socialised with other men in the village and the couple always kept to themselves.

"We reject homosexuals here, so last week we raided their house and saw Musdalifa was obviously a woman. She'd been walking around in loose men's clothes," Marlina, 34, told AFP Wednesday.

"We told Musdalifa to leave. They both fled and we haven't seen them since," said Marlina, who goes by one name.

It was discovered that Musdalifa was really a 23-year-old woman named Angga Soetjipto, who married her girlfriend Ninies Ramiluningtyas, 41, earlier this month.

The locals complained to the local Religious Affairs Office, which administers marriages and has reported the case to the Religious Affairs Ministry.

"There was no way we could have known, because they both had all the right documents, including a letter of identification from the village," office head Budi Dharmawan said.

He said the office would consider intensifying customary pre-marriage counselling to ensure illegal marriages do not slip through the net again.

Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, though gay marriage is outlawed.

Although the majority of Indonesians practise a moderate form of Islam, the country's sharia stronghold Aceh province has deliberated flogging homosexuals and has forced gay and lesbian couples to separate.



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