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Ohio bill to outlaw marital rape gets zero support from GOP lawmakers

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Republican state lawmakers in Ohio are refusing to back a bill that would repeal the state’s “spousal exemption” for marital rape.

Democratic state Rep. Greta Johnson told the Akron Beacon Journal that she first introduced HB 234 in 2015 because marital rape is legal in Ohio as long as the rapist uses no force or threat of force, meaning a husband could legally drug and rape his wife.

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“As a former prosecutor, I would argue that you could still try to prosecute under the forced rape statute, but unfortunately drugging and raping your spouse in Ohio is not illegal,” Johnson explained.

The 2015 bill died in committee with no Republican support. Johnson blamed the failure on partisanship and opposition to a provision that dropped the 20-year statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault.

Johnson filed the bill again on Friday, this time dropping the provision that removes the statute of limitations. But no Republican lawmaker has stepped forward to co-sponsor the bill.

Brad Miller, a spokesperson for Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, told the Beacon Journal that the Speaker had not had a chance to review the bill.

“Most of this is really early in the process in terms of what might happen next,” Miller said.

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