Utah Lawmakers Debate Sex With Unconscious People
Law also applies to spouses, committee member told
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2015 10:50 PM CST
Updated Feb 5, 2015 12:30 AM CST
Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, testifies at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – A Utah bill stating that unconscious people cannot consent to sex proved to be more controversial than expected when it came before a legislative committee earlier this week. Rep. Brian Greene wondered if it meant that somebody who had sex with an unconscious spouse could be charged with rape, saying a rape charge "makes sense in a first date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity," the Salt Lake Tribune reports. After at least one other Republican voiced similar concerns, an attorney from the Utah Prosecution Council explained that under the bill, "consent is a decision that has to be made at the time of the act" and you "cannot give consent to sexual activity if you're unconscious."

Sex with an unconscious person "is rape. Period. End of story," Democratic Rep. Brian King told the committee, according to the Tribune. Greene ended up voting for the bill and apologized for his comments yesterday, saying he abhors "sexual assault under any circumstances, including within marriage." The director of the Rape Recovery Center tells USA Today she hadn't expected a debate and was shocked by Greene's comments. "He's a lawyer, you think he would know better," she says. "But with the kind of work we do, we realize that so many people don't understand this issue." The bill was introduced after a 2013 case where a man claimed he had sex with an unconscious neighbor on her porch to keep her warm and "save her life," Politico reports.