California becomes the first US state to prohibit “stealthing” or removing a condom during intercourse without permission after Governor Gavin Newsom signed law Thursday.
The new measure amends the state’s civil code, adding the law to the civil definition of the state of the sexual battery. This makes it clear that victims can sue the perpetrators for damages, including punitive damages.
It makes it illegal to remove condoms without verbal consent.
Democratic MP Cristina Garcia originally attempted to make it a crime in 2017 after a Yale University study earlier that year found camouflage is increasing against both women and gay men.
Legislative analysts said at the time that this could already be considered a sexual offense, although it is rarely prosecuted given the difficulty of proving that an offender acted deliberately rather than accidentally.
The Erotic Service Providers Legal Educational Research Project backed the bill, saying it could allow sex workers to sue customers who remove condoms.
Legislators in New York and Wisconsin have previously proposed laws to do so.
“This law is the first of its kind in the nation, but I urge other states to follow California’s direction and make it clear that camouflage is not just immoral, it is illegal,” said Ms. Garcia.
Mr Newsom also passed a second Garcia law, treating rape of a spouse like rape of a non-spouse, removing an exception to the rape law if the victim is married to the perpetrator.
“Rape is rape,” she said. “And a marriage certificate is no excuse for committing one of the most violent and sadistic crimes in society.”
The exception comes from a time when women were expected to “obey” their husbands. California was one of eleven states that distinguish between spouse rape and other forms of sexual assault.
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