Mexican Senate Repeals Adultery Law

Adulterers may soon ply their trade in Mexico without risk of facing criminal charges.

The Mexican Senate has repealed via a 69-0 vote with one abstention a law that imposes criminal penalties on adultery, with legislators saying the provision has become “obsolete.” The vote effectively repeals an article in the country’s Federal Penal Code that slaps a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and temporary suspension of civil rights by up to six years on persons found guilty of committing adultery in the conjugal home. The repeal, which has already been approved by the House of Deputies, the country’s Lower House, needs only President Felipe Calderon’s signature to take effect.

Leftist Sen. Pablo Gomez said the repeal was aimed at “repudiating a crime historically formulated to preserve men’s ownership of women.” Legislatures said the old law was unjust and biased against women. Under the repealed law, a husband who catches his wife in bed with her paramour may kill both the adulterers without facing any consequences. However, a husband caught in the same circumstance can invoke a right to have extramarital affairs.

With the repeal, and if approved by President Calderon, the charge of adultery will only be available in civil and family suits.