If you’re like me and had no idea that this was even a thing: welcome.
On Thursday, the
South Korean Constitutional Court overturned the 62-year-old law that made adultery a crime, stating that it went against the country’s Constitution.
The crime of adultery used to be punishable by up to two years in prison, but the court ruled that the law violated people’s individual rights.
According to the Los Angeles Times, presiding judge Park Han-Chul told Agence France-Presse news agency, “Even if adultery should be condemned as immoral, state power should not intervene in individuals’ private lives.”
Since 1985, 53,000 South Koreans have been indicted on adultery charges, according to the court’s data. Nine hundred were recorded within the past year, and most never went to prison.
Within the past few years, judges have required more and more physical evidence to actually prosecute adulterers, which has led to an increase in police searching motel rooms to follow up on a tip from a spouse.
The law was put into place to balance the lack of power females hold in the average household and to protect them in a male-dominated society. It was also put in place to hold a better sense of family and to coerce people to get married.
However with the law instated, the country saw an increase in divorce rates, as well as adultery cases being settled for a generous amount given to the plaintiff.
In the end, 7 out of 9 judges found the law to be unconstitutional.
Some people think that this law is actually positive and does good for its people. On one hand, it stabilizes the image of family and makes sure that in a male-dominated society, women can have power and be protected by law. On the other hand, it is seen as a constriction of private individual freedom to do what they please. It’s a hard topic to take a clear side on.
Imagine if the United States instated a law like this. It could, in theory, harness a lot of good. However, with a divorce rate of at least 50 percent, I doubt that the United States would ever instate a law such as this one.
Once the law was repealed, Reuters reported that there was a 15 percent sales increase for Unidus Corp., a company that sells latex products, including condoms. If you don’t think that that was predictable (and hilarious), then I don’t know what is.