[FOUNTAIN]The Law and the Power of Love

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[FOUNTAIN]The Law and the Power of Love

In France, there is a saying that goes "Love can teach a donkey to dance." Whether the excitement of the first love of someone's life or a middle-age surprise, love tends to mesmerize a person, making the heart beat with excitement. As someone once said, a woman spends 20 years to raise her son to become a man, but in just 20 minutes a woman can turn a man into a fool. Thus is the power and magic of love.

But for a man and a woman to keep and maintain their love for each other through their lives is not necessarily easy. Not only love, but also patience, respect, trust and ability are needed to live together happily till that couple become gray-haired. The fact that love takes a lot of work is probably what made John Barrymore, the American actor, say love is about having a great time with a beautiful young woman until you feel she looks like a monster.

To have a sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse is clearly adultery - with or without love. No matter how hard the creators of the movie "The Bridges of Madison County" tried to make the central characters' affair something beautiful, an extramarital affair is adultery and, in this part of the world, a crime.

The Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that the criminal law prohibiting sexual relations outside of marriage was constitutional. The court said the law should be maintained to preserve healthy sexual ethics in society, sexual responsibility between spouses and monogamy. The court's opinion reflects the values of our society and is acceptable in many ways. In reality, the fact that adultery is a crime has acted as a safety net available to women as a last resort against husbands who cheat on them.

But what is more notable in the adultery ruling is the dissenting opinion of one of the justices. Citing international practice of the issue, questions of infringement on privacy, abuse of the law, and the weakening ground for punishment as a crime, the justice said the legislature should consider abolishing the law against adultery. Times must be changing when an opinion from the Constitutional Court, with its proven conservative track record, says, though in a minority dissenting opinion and indirectly as a recommendation to the National Assembly, that adulterers should not be criminals any longer.

A few years ago, a movie was released about the lives and loves of three women. One of the women complained about her trouble with the law on adultery, "Since when did the cops and prosecutors run the lower half of my body?" The court's opinion is sure to raise the volume of discussion on the criminality of adultery.



The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Noh Jae-hyun

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