Washington House OKs removal of marital rape exception

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OLYMPIA — Washington is one a handful of states where marriage remains an absolute defense against allegations of some forms of rape and sexual assault.

The state House voted Monday to change that.

House Bill 1108 would remove the spousal exemption from both rape in the third degree — in which no physical force is used — and from taking indecent liberties.

Until the 1970s, most states considered marriage to preclude any form of rape. Washington removed the marital exemption for first- and second-degree rape in 1983.

The vote to remove the marital exception for third-degree rape was 96-1. Republican Rep. Elizabeth Scott of Monroe cast the sole dissenting vote.

The measure heads next to the Senate.