Some people might be aware that there are a number of websites out there that actively promote infidelity. One of the first sites to be set up, Ashley Madison which was founded by Noel Biderman over 10 years ago has the strap line “Life is Short. Have an Affair”. Whilst such practices might seem disrespectful and shocking to most married people, these websites have never been challenged in a Court of law, until now.
A French website which targets married people and advertises itself as “the world’s leading extra conjugal site conceived for married women” is being taken to Court by the Association of Catholic Families (ACF) in a civil court case which challenges whether the website is in fact illegal. The reason the ACF can take this case to Court is because French law is based on civil codes, one of which states “Married partners owe each other the duty of respect, fidelity, help and assistance.” Whilst some may think that in today’s society such a case will have no prospects of success the truth is that French family law specialists do think that the case could succeed. The argument that ACF will be advancing is that by promoting adulterous behaviour, this website is inciting people to violate the civil code which compels them to owe a duty of fidelity to their spouse.
The website concerned, known as Gleeden, was founded in 2009 and has 2.3 million members in Europe. It has sparked outrage by displaying advertisements on public transport showing a bride with her fingers crossed behind her back. With so many members, there is clearly a demand for such a service and founders of such websites have argued back against criticism by stating that websites such as theirs save marriages as opposed to destroy them. Some claim that the day after Valentine’s Day is their busiest day of the year for people signing up after the disappointment of a romantic let down on a supposedly special day.
Whilst it is widely accepted that there will always be people who commit adultery, the outcome of a case which aims to prevent infidelity being encouraged is far from certain. Attitudes towards marriage and relationships have changed considerably in recent times and the Courts will have to take into account the modern day values of everyday people. Whilst the majority of everyday people will still frown upon an act of infidelity, it is not treated with the same abhorrence as it was 50 years ago.
Changing people’s perspectives on what is and what is not acceptable behaviour within a relationship is always going to be an uphill struggle and the fact remains that even if we returned to life 50 years ago there would still be those who would betray their spouse. Even if the Courts decide in favour of ACF, there will be those out there who will not be able to resist temptation whether it is openly marketed in public places or not.