Cabinet members hotly discuss merits of anti-adultery legislation
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Whether the government should decriminalize adultery to conform to international human rights regulations unexpectedly became the focus of discussion at the Cabinet's weekly meeting yesterday.
March 15, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said that she used to feel awkward when speaking with foreigners about the existence of a law making adultery a crime in Taiwan, as well as the crime of “civil disturbance” established in the Publication Law and the Criminal Code.
Lung made the remarks at the Cabinet meeting after hearing a report made by the Ministry of Justice on the government's efforts to promote human rights.
According to Article 239 of the Criminal Code, a married person who commits adultery shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year, with the other party subject to the same punishment.
At the moment, there are only a few countries that still hold adultery punishable, according to Lung.
Speaking after the culture minister, Deputy Tainan Mayor Yen Chun-cho said that for a married couple, whether each partner's body “belongs” to himself or herself, or to their other half, is a matter that deserves serious discussion.
“In the case of one half of a married couple being unwilling to have sex, the other half might be forced to seek sex with a third party, but would face the crime of adultery as a result. This seems a contradiction,” Yen said.
Meanwhile, Luo Ying-hsueh, a minister without portfolio, said that although there is no adultery crime in many advanced countries, quite a few women's groups in Taiwan still insist on the need for the existence of the crime. Accordingly, she said, more efforts are needed to forge consensus on this regard through intensive communications with the groups, if the adultery crime is to be dropped.