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OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Marriage will no longer be an absolute defense against allegations of some forms of rape and sexual assault in Washington state.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Wednesday to change state law, calling it a very important advance. The measure removes the spousal exemption from both rape in the third degree -- in which no physical force is used -- and from taking indecent liberties.

Washington removed the marital exemption for first- and second-degree rape in 1983.

Until the 1970s, most states considered marriage to preclude any form of rape.

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