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How will the US react to ASEAN LGBT discrimination?

Indonesia’s highest courts will rule on an upcoming law effectively banning sex outside of marriage.  Long term many experts predict that the law (if passed) will affect the country’s LGBT community and America’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This would be the first time in Indonesia’s history that homosexual relations are criminalized.

Policy leaders from ASEAN nations have recently been very critical of the LGBT community despite growing support from some of its members. Although ASEAN is quickly becoming one of the most diverse and economically vital regions in the world, policy like this could create chaos between western investors and the growing nations. 

A Harvard Business Review article by Andrew Winston argued in May 2016, “Equality efforts in the corporate world have not been perfect, but stepping back, it’s clear that there’s a dual logic for companies to jump into public policy: the moral imperative of a workplace without discrimination is intertwined with the reality of running a business catering to diverse customers and employees. So business has often acted years ahead of public sentiment.”

US foreign investment in ASEAN increased to $226 billion in 2014.  Whether this continues remains to be seen.

-Ray Hayes


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