South Korea has lifted its 62-year-old law that criminalized adultery, with its Constitutional Court saying that the law violated the country’s constitution.
Previously, anyone convicted of cheating on their spouse, along with the accomplice, faced up to two years in prison.
The judges regarded the old law as outdated and violated personal privacy. “The precondition of human dignity and right to pursue happiness is for each individual to have their rights to choose their fate,” the court ruled. “And the rights to choose their fate includes rights to be engaged in sex and choosing the partner.”
The ruling was not unanimous, though. Two of the court’s nine judges dissented in the decision, saying legalized adultery hurts efforts to promote family. The dissenting South Korean judges blatantly claimed, “Adultery and fornication go beyond a person’s rights (and) intrude on other people and the community.”
Since 2008, South Korea has seen about 5,500 people indicted on charges of adultery, though it should be noted that almost none of those ended in jail time. While it has yet to be sorted out, any current pending charges could be thrown out, and those already found guilty may be eligible for retrial.
In 2014, the government banned Internet site Ashley Maddison, a website that connects married people interested in having affairs. No decision to lift the ban has yet been made.
Predictably, South Korean condom-maker Unidus saw its stock jump soon after the ruling. By the end of the day, it was up 15%.
More statistical data on the ruling and its effects are expected in about nine-months.