State Watch

Minnesota governor signs law making marital rape illegal

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed legislation this week doing away with the state’s marital rape exception, eliminating protections for rapists in instances where couples lived together or were in an ongoing voluntary sexual relationship.

According to Reuters, Walz signed off on the bill on Thursday. Part of the language in the bill states that it repeals statutes in the state that provided rapists with “voluntary relationship defense for criminal sexual conduct crimes.”

{mosads}The original statutes state that a person accused of rape would not be found to commit criminal sexual conduct if they and the victim “were adults cohabiting in an ongoing voluntary sexual relationship at the time of the alleged offense, or if the complainant is the actor’s legal spouse, unless the couple is living apart and one of them has filed for legal separation or dissolution of the marriage.” 

Walz said Thursday that the “reprehensible exception should never have been part of our criminal statutes,” according to the news agency.

Upon the bill’s passage in the Minnesota Senate earlier this week, state Rep. Zack Stephenson, who authored the legislation, called marital rape exceptions “abominable” in a statement.

“Everyone deserves to be safe from rape regardless of who they are married to. Courageous Minnesotans like Jenny Teeson who are coming forward to tell painful personal stories are the inspiration behind this legislation,” said Stephenson said.

“I’m glad common sense prevailed in the Senate and that we’re one step closer to holding perpetrators accountable, regardless of marital status,” he added.

Tags Marital rape Minnesota Sexual assault Tim Walz
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