America’s sky-high divorce rate is often cited as a prime example of our moral decay. But how many other nations avoid such matrimonial chaos only through the maintenance of draconian laws? Microkhan would like to direct your attention toward Uganda, which has recently experienced a surge in divorces. The culprit seems to be the repeal of a law that strikes us as only slightly less unfair than the ending of Paths of Glory:
The criminal adultery law was scrapped on April 5, 2007 in a land mark ruling by the Constitutional Court. The Court ruled that section 154 of the Penal Code Act was unconstitutional because it treated men and women differently.
The old law gave the married man leeway to sleep around as long as the women he was involved with were not another man’s wife. A married woman, on the other hand, could not have sex with any man other than her husband.
In case of divorce, a woman had to prove multiple grounds, such as cruelty and desertion in addition to adultery, while the man only had to prove adultery. Now men and women alike only need to prove a single ground.
Also recently scrapped in Uganda: A law that enabled cuckolded men to sue their wives’ lovers.
All of this raises a vital question: Is there a “natural” rate of divorce that nations should aim for as a target, and then tweak their laws accordingly until they hit it? Perhaps the rate in the U.S. is too high, but the pre-2007 rate in Uganda was obviously too low. And while we obviously want to encourage the stability of marriage, we also have to accept that humans make mistakes, and should be granted leeway to start over—for the good of themselves, and for the good of society.
So, what might the natural rate of divorce be? Twenty percent? Twenty-five?