Lawmaker Questions if Sex with an Unconscious Person is Always Rape

‘What if it’s your wife?’: Utah lawmaker questions whether sex with an unconscious person should always constitute rape
  • Representative Brian Greene, a Republican from Pleasant Grove, questioned a measure to clarify the state’s criminal code regarding rape
  • What if an ‘individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, or the other way around–if that is possible?’ scoffed Greene
  • In the end, the committee voted unanimously–with Greene’s consent–in favor of letting the bill move forward
Wondered about wives: Utah Rep. Brian Greene took issue with a bill that would make all sex without consent a criminal act

Wondered about wives: Utah Rep. Brian Greene took issue with a bill that would make all sex without consent a criminal act

By JOSH GARDNER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

Utah state lawmakers considering a sexual consent law found themselves debating whether sex with an unconscious spouse constitutes rape.

A measure to require clear consent won early House Judiciary Committee approval Tuesday, after advocates said Utah’s current law doesn’t adequately protect victims.

However, Republican Rep. Brian Greene of Pleasant Grove said he feared the law would let prosecutors charge a man with sexual assault for having sex with his wife while she’s unconscious.

Greene said sex with an unconscious person on a first date shouldn’t be allowed, but it’s different for long-term relationships.

‘If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious…a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically,’ Greene said in committee Tuesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. ‘That makes sense in a first date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity.’

Other lawmakers said the statute should be clear.

Democratic Rep. Brian King of Salt Lake City says an unconscious person can’t consent, and sex in that situation is rape.

Sex with an unconscious person ‘is rape. Period. End of story,’ said King, a Democrat from Salt Lake City. ‘Let’s make the statute clear. Let’s not dance around it.’

Advocates for Utah’s HB74 say the state’s criminal code for sexual assault needs to be altered to clearly state that sex with an unconscious person is rape.

The current law begins: ‘The victim has not consented and the actor knows the victim is unconscious, unaware that the act is occurring, or physically unable to resist.’

The bill was introduced by Salt Lake City Democrat Rep. Angela Romero.

Bill sponsor Angela Romero says the state's criminal code needs clarifying Greene wondered in Tuesday's committee session if the change might open a door to prosecution if 'a individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, or the other way around if that is possible...'

It’s the ‘and’ in the language that appears to concern Romero. She wants to remove ‘the victim has not consented,’ according to KSTU.

‘At the end of the day, when we took out that language, if somebody is unconscious you probably shouldn’t attempt to try to have sexual relations with them,’ Romero said.

However, it’s also the word of the law that concerns Greene, a public servant elected in 2012 with the help of a pro-business, pro smaller government platform.

‘It looks to me now like sex with an unconscious person is by definition rape,’ Greene said. ‘I hope this wouldn’t happen, but this opens the door to it — a individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious, or the other way around if that is possible…’

Greene scoffs at the notion of what ‘the other way around’ entails, and some gentleman at a dais beside him appear to chuckle, before he continues.

‘But a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape,’ he said.

In the end, the committee voted unanimously, with Greene’s consent, in favor of moving the bill along.

Seen here with his wife Renee, Greene--a vocal proponent of small government elected to the state government in 2012--called rape 'abhorrent' but questioned the wisdom of a law that defines it so unequivocally

Seen here with his wife Renee, Greene–a vocal proponent of small government elected to the state government in 2012–called rape ‘abhorrent’ but questioned the wisdom of a law that defines it so unequivocally

 

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