Lawmakers target spouses who drug, rape their partners
By JULIE CARR SMYTH and STEVE KARNOWSKI
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Efforts to end exemptions in state laws for rape by a spouse are gaining renewed attention in the #MeToo era.
Vestiges of the so-called "marital rape exemption" or "spousal defense" still exist in most states. They are remnants of the English common law that helped inform American legal traditions.
Legislative attempts to end or modify them have a mixed record but succeeded just this week in Minnesota.
Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill that ends a legal exemption for spouses who rape partners when they are drugged, unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. That law had prevented prosecutions in those cases.
That particular exemption remains on the books in 17 states, including Ohio. There, a lawmaker plans to reintroduce a bill this month to end it.
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