California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins

Spousal Rape Exceptions can’t be a thing in 2021...can they? These days that kind of law, essentially defining a wife as her husband’s sexual property, is unimaginable, right? Wrong.

The good news is we’re 50% of the way to closing the Spousal Rape Loophole in California, but we’ve run into a problem in the Senate. Despite our bill being approved by the State Assembly by a vote of 74-0, Senate Public Safety Chair Steven Bradford refuses to commit that he will support the bill . . . or even respond to any of our phone calls or emails.

That’s why we’re calling on Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins to be the champion this bill needs to breakthrough in the Senate AND BECOME LAW. Let Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins know we need her help to ensure that AB 1171 is passed as written AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. This bill will ensure that in California all rape is treated equally under the law, regardless of any relationship between the victim and the perpetrator -- with no exceptions.

We are halfway home. We can’t stop now.

To: California Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
From: [Your Name]

Dear Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins,

I am writing to urge you to stand with survivors of rape and domestic abuse and ensure the swift passage of AB 1171 which will repeal CA Penal Code 262. It is imperative that California treat spousal rape as equal to non-spousal rape under the law. Please join with more than 20 California legislators and become a co-author of this important legislation, and ensure it passes the Senate as written.

Rapists who are convicted of raping their spouses should face the same accountability as those who rape a non-spouse without exception. California is one of the last states to maintain a spousal rape exception.

Rape is universally acknowledged as a crime of violence that is both physically and psychologically harmful to the victim. Rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between a rapist and their victim. I know you are a strong advocate of women's rights and that is why I am counting on you to ensure the passage of AB 1171 as written.

AB 1171 is supported by a broad coalition of criminal justice reformers, women’s organizations, service providers for sexual and domestic abuse, and elected leaders. Our supporters include legendary labor and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, Rep. Ro Khanna, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, Senate President Pro Tem Emeritus and Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin De León, Former Secretary of Labor and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, the National Organization for Women, VALOR (formerly CalCasa), the Prosecutor's Alliance of California, and many others. Please join with these leaders and organizations, become a co-author, and help us to pass this important bill as written.