Should Adultery Be Criminalized? Cameroon Certainly Thinks So

When does a character cross the line from being merely unsavory or even disturbing to being absolutely criminal? It is a question that each country’s lawmakers must consciously consider in making or changing laws.

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A few things are probably considered or at least should be considered in answering that question foremost of which is; does the action have a negative impact or consequence on the state or on other people around.

In the case of murder or fraud or any certified crime you can think of, the answer is probably an easy yes.


Cameroon’s parliament is currently debating a new law which will criminalize adultery for men. The law has the backing of President’s Paul Biya’s party and so has a high chance of being approved.

For those who may wonder why the debate centers around criminalizing adultery for men, women already face being jailed for between two to six months for having sexual relations outside marriage and should the law go through, men would face the same sentence.

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BBC reports that one member of the parliament Tomaino Ndam Njoya said in the course of the debate; “Men having children out of wedlock should be punished because that is evidence of adultery”.


For Cameroon, the question of whether adultery should be criminalized for men should be a foregone conclusion considering women are already going to jail for the ‘crime’.

The debate does however present a rather interesting question for outsiders looking in, which I will phrase simply as; should governments be policing what should basically be a moral agreement between two people in a marriage?

Cameroon is by no means the first place where adultery will be or has been criminalized, some states in the U.S still have adultery criminalized although how much the law is enforced is not widely known, but is this something you would like pursued in your own country or state?