Taipei, May 31 (CNA) Lawmakers on Monday amended Taiwan's Criminal Code, officially removing adultery as a criminal offense one year after the related article in the law was declared unconstitutional and voided.
The removal of Article 239, under which people who committed adultery could face a prison sentence of up to one year, was in line with the Constitutional Court's ruling that annulled the article on May 29, 2020.
The article, which had not been changed since the Criminal Code was introduced in 1935, had another provision that allowed a spouse to withdraw a suit against his or her unfaithful partner while still forcing the third party to face legal proceedings. That provision was also eliminated.
In Interpretation No. 791, the Constitutional Court overruled its previous view expressed in Interpretation No. 554 made in 2002, which at the time valued protecting the sanctity of marriage over an individual's right to sexual autonomy.
The court revisited the issue because of petitions filed by lower courts and defendants, and it decided to decriminalize adultery because of the changes in how marriage and family are viewed in society and similar actions by other countries.
Legislator Yeh Yu-lan (葉毓蘭) of the opposition Kuomintang said after the amendment was passed that decriminalization did not mean there would be no consequence for people committing adultery.
The Civil Code and a Supreme Court precedent still allow the spouse of an unfaithful partner to seek compensation, she said.
She also urged the Judicial Yuan to improve judges' understanding of gender equality to be better prepared to protect victims of extramarital affairs, and reminded the Ministry of Justice of its promise to amend the Civil Code to ensure fairness and justice.