LANSING, Mich., June 21, 2022 — Today, the Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 4699, which strikes the “mentally incapacitated” exemption from the state’s ban on marital rape. HB 4699 closes a glaring loophole in the Michigan Penal Code that permits marital rape when the perpetrator’s legal spouse is mentally incapacitated, defined in statute as being drugged without their consent. State law currently precludes charges or convictions for criminal sexual conduct in such cases, leaving Michigan as one of the few remaining states to expressly allow marital rape in law.
“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 “A person’s right to bodily autonomy doesn’t end when they sign a marriage certificate, and despite this law being outdated, it still has very real consequences for victims.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 now heads to the Senate.