Story at a glance

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed legislation designating nonconsensual condom removal a civil offense.
  • A 2017 Yale report detailed how instances of so-called stealthing are on the rise against women and gay men.
  • The California State Legislature passed the measure without opposition last month.

California has become the first state in the nation to make it illegal to remove a condom during sexual intercourse without a partner’s verbal consent. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed legislation designating nonconsensual condom removal, also referred to as “stealthing,” a civil offense under state law. The measure enables victims to sue offenders for damages. 

The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D), who has been working on the issue since 2017 following a Yale report detailing how instances of stealthing are on the rise against women and gay men. The California State Legislature passed the measure without opposition last month. 

“I am elated that there is now some accountability for those who perpetrate the act. Sexual assaults, especially those on women of color, are perpetually swept under the rug,” Garcia said in a statement.


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“The law is the first of its kind in the nation, but I urge other states to follow in California’s direction and make it clear that stealthing is not just immoral but illegal,” Garcia added. 

Newsom also signed a separate measure authored by Garcia that terminates the state’s “spousal rape exception.” The bill will “ensure that ‘spousal rape’ is treated and punished, as seriously as the rape of a non-spouse,” according to Garcia. 

“From the beginning of our efforts, we have been clear that rape is rape. And a marriage license is not an excuse for committing one of society’s most violent and sadistic crimes. AB 1171 will mandate adherence to a law that will protect vulnerable spouses in a union,” Garcia said in a statement


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Published on Oct 08, 2021