Applaud Governor For Protecting Rape Victims


Target: California Governor Jerry Brown

Goal: Applaud Governor Brown for overturning a law from 1872 that denied justice for unmarried rape victims

Recently, California overturned an 1872 law by closing a loophole in order to widen the definition of rape to include unmarried people. The antiquated law forced an appeals court to overturn a man’s rape conviction for acting like a woman’s boyfriend while she lays unconscious. The arcane rape law stated that rape occurred when a woman consented to sex under the belief that her husband was committing the act. The belief must be induced by concealment or pretense by the accused. Thus, a rapist could evade conviction if he feigned to be the rape victim’s unmarried partner.

The loophole in this law led a California court to reluctantly but unanimously overturn the conviction of Julio Morales because by a statutory definition of rape he did not commit the crime. Only if the woman had been married and Morales had impersonated her husband would the act have been considered rape. A person who has sex by impersonating an individual that is not a married victim’s spouse thus has not by law committed the crime of rape of an unconscious victim. The governor’s decision to close that loophole will not affect the fate of Morales and those who have escaped a rape conviction by invoking the arcane law.

Prior to this court’s decision, the California legislature had knowledge of the 1872 law. Lawmakers had introduced a new bill in 2011 but it did not pass the Senate Public Safety committee despite the State Assembly’s approval. The governor’s decision to close the loophole is the culmination of a three year effort to do so. Please sign this petition to commend the governor for closing an outdated loophole that has denied victims of the heinous crime of rape the justice they deserve.


Dear Governor Jerry Brown,

We commend you for your decision to close a loophole in an outdated 1872 law that allowed rapists to evade a conviction. The law allowed the perpetrator to escape a conviction by claiming that he or she pretended to be an unmarried partner of the victim and had sex with him or her while he or she lays unconscious. The recent case of Julio Morales highlights the injustice the loophole enabled, as a California court reluctantly overturned a rape conviction because Morales claimed to be the victim’s boyfriend.

This arcane loophole allowed rapists to get away, and your decision to close it should be applauded as a culmination of a three year effort to do away with it. With your decision, rape victims will no longer be denied the justice they deserve.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: CMCarterSS via Flickr

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74 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • sheila childs
  • James Thrailkill
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Mal Gaff
  • Holly Hall
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Melanie waleski
  • jeff hopkins
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