South Korea’s Constitutional Court threw out a decades-old anti-adultery law on Thursday, reflecting a growing importance of personal choice over marital order in a traditionally group-oriented society.
In a 7-2 decision, the nine-member bench ruled that Article 241 of the criminal code was unconstitutional.
“The anti-cheating law has been traditionally aimed at punishing women, but those days are long gone now,” Song Jae-ryong, a sociology professor at Kyung Hee University, said.
Others said the law was practically non-existent, as it had lost its effectiveness in preventing infidelity.
“The anti-adultery law is no longer achieving its purpose,” Kim Jeong-beom, a law professor at Hangyang University, said. “Penalties have become extremely light and don’t have the preventative effect they’re supposed to have.”
Kim Min-soo, an office worker, said. “It’s not like the ruling would make people feel freer to cheat than before.”
Love cheats are already rampant and adultery is institutionalised in a country where people don’t marry for romantic love but for jeong.