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Commit Adultery in South Korea? Go Directly to Jail


South Korea's high court upheld an adultery law that can send people to jail for having an extramarital affair last week. It has been called anachronistic and an infringement on personal freedom by critics.

The appeal made to the Constitutional Court since 1989 was brought by the lawyers for a popular actress who was charged when her actor husband filed a criminal complaint against her for having an affair with an opera singer. Sure, that sounds juicy, but to find out why the law was created in the first place, read more.

The law was enacted in 1953 to protect women because the male-dominated society offered women little protection when a husband had an affair. At the time when a wife walked out of a marriage, she would often end up penniless.

Today, it is rare for people to actually serve jail time, but several thousand spouses file criminal complaints yearly. Five judges found the law unconstitutional, one short of the six needed to strike it down. Do you think the law is fair in 2008?

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