When charging someone with adultery under the Criminal Code, details of the adultery must be provided that satisfy Criminal Code evidence requirements, or a CD or DVD recording of the adultery must be provided. This only serves to further fuel animosity and distrust.
Private investigators charge high fees and then take advantage of the Criminal Code to extort money from the other party, without mentioning that their client could be charged with violating privacy laws, which can result in up to three years’ imprisonment, a harsher punishment than the maximum one year imprisonment for adultery.
When addressing the issue of decriminalizing adultery, the ministry can no longer avoid the issue by saying that it is neutral. If the Cabinet wants to use this one opinion poll to endorse the government’s position and ignore the fact that the offense of adultery has had practical negative consequences for women and for the institution of marriage, it will only serve to once again show that the sincerity of this Cabinet, which Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) calls a “communicative Cabinet,” continues to plummet to new depths.
The ministry must stop playing devil’s advocate, pretending to be neutral while using underhand means to mislead the public. Instead, it should provide information to let the public deliberate the issue and take into consideration the claims from legal academic circles, human rights and women’s organizations that designating adultery as an offense creates gender inequality and will not guarantee the continuation of a marriage.
It should give serious thought to striking Article 239 and the offense of adultery from the Criminal Code.
Lin Shih-fang is secretary-general of the Awakening Foundation and a lawyer. Lin Shiou-yi is director of the development division at the Awakening Foundation.
Translated by Perry Svensson