Under groundbreaking law, California has become the first state in the nation where condom removal during sex without a partner’s permission has been made illegal.
Unauthorized condom removal – also known as “stealthing” – is now a civil offense under state law as a sex battery, allowing victims to sue the victims.
The bill was introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Christina Garcia, who began working on the issue in 2017 after a Yale University study revealed a growing number of cases of theft against women and gay men.
“Unauthorized condom removal during sexual intercourse exposes victims to the physical risks of pregnancy and disease, and interviews clarify that, for many, it is perceived as a serious violation of dignity and autonomy,” the Yale study noted. It is understood to “transform consensual sex into non-consensual sex.”
Some online communities encourage stealthing and even share tips on cheating with a sexual partner.
The California State Legislature passed the measure without opposition last month and it was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday.
“I am glad that there is some accountability now for those who have done this. Garcia said in a statement that sexual abuse, especially of those on colored women, would sink the carpet forever. Stealing “causes long-term physical and emotional damage to its victims,” he noted.
“I urge other states to comply with California’s guidelines and make it clear that theft is not only immoral, it is illegal,” he added.
The new law was praised on Twitter by Alexandra Brodsky, a lawyer who conducted Yale studies while a law school student.