Polygamy involving a man being married to up to four wives is legal in Indonesia, though it remains relatively rare due to government restrictions on the practice and its controversial status in society, with women’s rights activists arguing the practice is patriarchal and almost always unfair to the women involved.
However, there are concerns that polygamy is on the rise in Indonesia, with prominent religious figures espousing the lifestyle and a controversial app, AyoPolgami, attempting to make it easier for men to find women willing to share their husband with others.
While polygamy might be becoming more mainstream in Indonesia, the general public was still clearly shocked by this invitation to the weddings of a man and two women in South Sumatra, which recently went viral on social media.
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Many commenters on social media condemned the wedding, with even those supporting polygamy saying that a Muslim man must take on and learn to live with a single wife first before taking on another, Others made jokes about how the honeymoon night would work.
But is the invitation even real? Detik interviewed Panser, the head of Teluk Kijing Village in Banyuasin, where the wedding is set to take place, and he confirmed that it was indeed real and that it would involve one man marrying two women within a few days of each other.
“Yes, it is true, there are (getting married) two women with one man (Cindra). One of the women is indeed one of our citizen (Indah Lestari), I have made the marriage certificate too,” Panser said when asked by Detik yesterday, adding that the other bride, Perawati, came from a neighboring village about 10 kilometers away.
Panser also said that he had discussed the multiple marriages with Indah and she had assured him that she was fine with the arrangement. According to their government records, none of the three involved had been married in the past.
As to the sensitive matter of who would be the first wife and who would be the second wife, Panser said that Indah would be married to Cindra first on Nov 5, making her wife #1, while Cindra would marry Perawati on Nov 8, making her wife #2. Then on Nov 9 there will be a reception in which all three share the stage.
Remarkably, Panser said this wasn’t even the first time that a man from the village had married two women within a few days of each other.
“In this village, there have been three times when a man was married to two women and held a reception together. The reason is that they love each other and it has been agreed upon from the beginning, before the wedding,” he said.
Will we be seeing more polygamous marriages like this in Indonesia in the future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.