It doesn’t take a law degree to see what was behind our state’s archaic rape laws, now that it’s been brought into sharp relief by the recent case of Julio Morales.
Associated Press reports that Morales was initially convicted of impersonating the boyfriend of an 18-year-old woman so he could have sex with her while she slept. The woman filed rape charges after realizing the man in her bed wasn’t her boyfriend, the story notes.
Being a contemporary jury, living in today’s world and recognizing the equal rights of people of both genders, the rapist was convicted of the crime.
However, California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned the conviction in January, citing an 1870s state law that says perpetrators in such cases can only be guilty if the victim is married and the assailant pretends to be the spouse, according to the story.
Wow. I can’t believe such a law is still on the books.
But, I understand there are a slew of laws throughout the United States that are so outdated that they recall a different world or, in some cases, maybe an alternative universe.
For instance, in Missouri, it’s illegal to drive with an uncaged bear and in Maine, it’s illegal to keep your Christmas lights up after Jan. 14, according to various websites.
Those sites say that in Connecticut, it’s illegal to walk across a street on your hands while in Ohio, it’s illegal to get a fish drunk. Here, in California, women can’t legally drive in a housecoat and no vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
It boggles the mind to imagine the circumstances that triggered the adoption of these laws.
Clearly, this impersonating a spouse law is left over from the days when sexually active unmarried women were damaged goods.
This law is more about property rights than human rights.
So, I certainly hope SB59, a bill introduced by Democratic Sen. Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa, which fixes this outdated statute, passes the Assembly as it recently did the Senate, 37-0. If it fails, take down the names of those that voted “no” and remember them at election time.
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