In most Western countries, adultery itself is no longer a criminal offense, but may still have legal consequences, particularly in divorce cases.
For example, in fault-based family law jurisdictions, adultery almost always constitutes a ground for divorce and may be a factor in property settlement, the custody of children, the denial of alimony, etc.
A single act of sexual intercourse is generally sufficient to constitute adultery, and a more long-term sexual relationship is sometimes referred to as an affair.
Historically, many cultures have considered adultery to be a very serious crime.
tended to adulterate the issue [children] of an innocent husband ...
and to expose him to support and provide for another man's [children]".
Adultery refers to sexual relations which are not officially legitimized; for example it does not refer to having sexual intercourse with multiple partners in the case of polygamy (when a man is married to more than one wife at a time, called polygyny; or when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, called polyandry).
In the traditional English common law, adultery was a felony.
Thus, the "purity" of the children of a marriage is corrupted, and the inheritance is altered.
Some adultery laws differentiate based on the sex of the participants, and as a result such laws are often seen as discriminatory, and in some jurisdictions they have been struck down by courts, usually on the basis that they discriminated against women.
I can’t remember where I heard this — I think Shadi said it — but it remains on my mind: American Muslims are socially conservative, in general, but have turned firmly to the Democratic Party because they don’t trust Republicans to look out for them. It’s also true, though, that there are Christian conservatives who would be willing to vote Democratic, if only out of frustration and even disgust with the GOP today, if they could trust the Democrats to respect religious liberty (read: not to try to shut down our colleges and institutions because we’re insufficiently woke on LGBT rights). We have to start thinking beyond politics, to cultural engagement.
I don’t see any way out of this impasse for either Muslims and Republicans, or conservative Christians and Democrats. Shadi Hamid and I have been e-mailing for a short while, talking about the prospect of finding common ground between traditional American Christians and traditional American Muslims.
We agreed that it’s pointless to get together a group of right-minded liberal Muslims and liberal Christians to talk about blah blah blah.