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Michigan House bill seeks to end marital rape loophole

Michigan House bill seeks to end marital rape loophole
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 12:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:19 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan has a ban on marital rape, but that ban provides exemptions for when a person’s spouse is mentally incapacitated or below the age of 16. A new House Bill, HB 4699, seeks to end the exemption for mental incapacitation.

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State law currently does not allow for charges or convictions for criminal sexual conduct in cases where a spouse is mentally incapacitated, which the statute defines as being drugged without their consent.

House Bill 4699, which passed Tuesday in the House of Representatives, would end that exemption.

“I’m pleased that HB 4699 passed out of the House today,” said state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), the bill sponsor. “A person’s right to bodily autonomy doesn’t end when they sign a marriage certificate, and despite this law being outdated, it still has very real consequences for victims. We’re one step closer to finally protecting all survivors of marital rape and allowing them to seek justice when they suffer sexual abuse at the hands of their spouse.”

Michigan’s legal definition for “mentally incapacitated” includes instances where a spouse has been drugged or coerced and is unable to give consent. The bill will now head to the Senate.

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