Should Adultery Be a Crime?
Adultery is a crime in Lebanon – like in many other parts of the world – according to our Penal Code. I am not quite sure why a supposed violation of a marriage contract (which is in the personal status law) could be in the penal code. But, either way, the Parliamentary committees have approved a bill to make the conditions for adultery equal between men & women. The current Penal Code (Articles 487-489) punishes a woman who commits adultery with a prison sentence from three months to two years. A man committing adultery, however, has to be caught in the act in his own home or be known by others to be conducting an illicit affair to be sentenced to prison for one month to a year.
It seems to many like a step forward for women’s rights since the new law (which is yet to pass a Parliamentary vote but probably will soon) would make the conditions of adultery equal for men and women. And certainly, we welcome all such initiatives for equality. But I, and many of the Nasawiyas, discussed it today and we believe that adultery should not be criminalized in the Penal Code. Although it may cause a lot of harm to the spouse, the consequences (whether divorce or forgiveness or negotiations) should be left to the privacy couple and not a matter that the State can interfere in. So we say: scrap it out all together.
Do you think adultery should be a crime?