California has made it illegal to non-consensually remove a condom during sex.
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill prohibiting the act of "stealthing," making California the first state to do so. According to the New York Times, the legislation amends the state's civil code to include stealthing in its definition of sexual battery, thereby allowing survivors to sue assailants for punitive damages.
In 2017, Democratic assemblywoman Cristina Garcia began spearheading the effort following the release of a Yale study, which found that stealthing had increased against both women and gay men. Even so, Garcia's fight was hard won due to concerns over penalty guidelines and potential difficulties with prosecuting, amongst other issues. However, the bill was unanimously passed by the State Assembly this past September.
"I'm proud that California was the first in the nation to get this done," Garcia recently told the publication. "But also I have a sense of urgency to see other state legislatures pass similar bills so it's clear, across all of these states, that stealthing is not just immoral but illegal."
Additionally, Gov. Newsom simultaneously approved another one of Garcia's bill, which removed an archaic legislation that prevented married survivors to press rape charges against their spouses.
The assemblywoman added, "Rape is rape. And a marriage license is not an excuse for committing one of society's most violent and sadistic crimes."