Time for this law to be gone

Last week the Minnesota House of Representatives voted unanimously — how often does that happen? — to repeal a state law that is so egregious one wonders how it ever got on the books. The law, called the “voluntary relationship” statute, protects people from prosecution for the crime of having sex with someone who is mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless — as long as they are married to them.

One woman who testified before the House told how she had been drugged by her husband, and was violated by him as her 4-year-old slept nearby. She only found out a year later when she saw the videotape he had made of the event. The husband could not be charged with rape because of the “voluntary relationship” law, though he did serve 30 days for violation of privacy.

The days are long gone when society believed that a wife is the husband’s property, or that marriage includes doing one’s “marital duty,” like it or not. It’s time to root this notion out of our state laws, and we hope the Minnesota Senate will join the House in repealing this horrible law.