New Bill to Change Maryland’s Marital Rape Laws

Rape is rape, whether or not a person is married. Just because a person is married does not mean they automatically consent to sex on all occasions. Apparently the laws think otherwise.

While all 50 states and D.C. have had laws against marital rape in place since at least 1993, there are various loopholes involved. In Maryland, for example, a married person cannot prosecute their spouse for rape or other sexual offenses. While this may seem shocking, there are 23 states that allow for exceptions when it comes to marital rape. Some require force. Others allow husbands to rape unconscious wives. When they are convicted, the punishments are often trivial.

This is about to change, at least in Maryland. Senate Bill 230 will allow a person to prosecute their spouse for rape or sexual assault. The bill will repeal the current legislation and allow married people to file claims against their spouse at the time of the sexual offense.

This is huge news, considering that rape is not always between strangers. In the United States, more than 30% of women will experience rape or other sexual offenses by their husband or boyfriend in their lifetime. Sen. Susan Lee, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 230, created the bill because she thinks Maryland’s current laws are archaic and treat women as property rather than people. She finds it disrespectful and antiquated that a woman is essentially forced to have sex just because she is married, whether she wants to or not.

Maryland currently has exemptions. For example, the current law does allow for the prosecution of spousal sex crimes if the parties involved have lived apart for at least three months before the sexual offense occurred. Another exception is if force or the threat of force is used and the spouse does not give consent.

What is Marital Rape?

When many people think of rape, they think of a stranger having sex with a woman without her consent. While this is common, rape can also happen when the parties know each other and even when they’re married to each other. It may seem crazy that rape can happen in a marriage, but a marriage license does not give a spouse an automatic right to have sex with their partner at all times. In centuries past, a marriage license may have been seen by men as a contract to have sexual relations with their wives as they desire. It was believed that a woman could not give consent, as the man now owned the woman’s body. This archaic line of thought is no longer true.

Marital rape is now seen as a form of sex abuse and domestic violence. While it is a crime in all states and in many countries as well, it is not prosecuted often. That’s because there is still a lack of awareness about what constitutes marital rape and whether or not it is even legal.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Rape and other sex crimes are punished harshly. If you are convicted of these crimes, you could face decades in prison.

Preserve your freedom with help from a Columbia sex crimes attorney at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. We can help reduce your charges. Schedule a free consultation today. Fill out the online form or call our office at (410) 774-5987.


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