Marital rape is illegal in all fifty states. In most states, marital and non-marital rape are treated equally. However, a number of states have established exceptions that treat marital rape differently than non-marital rape.
For example, until 2019, Minnesota protected rapists who still lived with and had sexual relations with a spouse. That year, Governor Tim Walz signed a bill that put an end to this marital rape exception. Similarly, California and Idaho repealed their provisions for marital rape in 2021.
Ten states still have exceptions that treat marital rape differently.
Connecticut has some of the same loopholes that other marital rape states have. This state classifies this crime as a Class B instead of a Class A felony. Persons charged may result in a lesser sentence than someone who is not married to a victim. This state currently makes no provision for cases where a person is drugged. It focuses primarily on cases where overpowering force is used.
Maryland’s HB0153 to repeal the spousal defense from rape moved through the state House and Senate in 2022. The state hopes to join the others who have recently repealed similar exemptions.
This state mostly focuses on marital rape that occurs against a person who is incapacitated. It addresses issues in which a person has violated a spouse that may have been under the influence of drugs. Violating a spouse while that person still feels the effects of an anesthetic also constitutes rape in Michigan. As of 2019, House Bill 4942 included a repeal against making it legal to have sex with an incapacitated spouse.
The only time a person in this state can convict another of rape is when force is used. Specifically, it would have to be “forcible penetration against the victim’s will.” This does not include cases in which a person is drugged or under the influence of a controlled substance.
Laws in this marital rape state require that force or threats must take place. If the sexual activity does not involve force, this state doesn’t consider it rape.
This state makes provisions for cases in which a rape involves drugging. It also takes cases based on either actual force or threat of force. Marital rape cases, however, only take the same precedence as non-marital ones if the two people don’t live together.
An overpowering force or violence seems to remain the main premise of Oklahoma rape. Some confusion lies within laws that define rape as non-consensual intercourse with a person who is not a spouse.
Legislation in this state specifically points to the victim not being a spouse. Apparently, one person married to another can still violate a drugged person.
This state treats marital rape as a “lesser crime” than non-spousal rape. Perpetrators might face 10 fewer years if married to their partner than if not married to that person.
Perpetrators apparently have the chance to receive counseling. If they do, participating in therapy sessions acts as a replacement for punishments. This reportedly puts victims in danger.
Marital Rape Different From Non Marital
|District of Columbia||No|