OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The Senate has approved a measure that would no longer allow marriage to remain an absolute defense against allegations of some forms of rape and sexual assault.

The measure that was passed on a unanimous vote on Monday would remove the spousal exemption from both rape in the third degree -- in which no physical force is used -- and from taking indecent liberties.

Until the 1970s, most states considered marriage to preclude any form of rape. Washington removed the marital exemption for first- and second-degree rape in 1983.

The House passed the measure earlier this month and it now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee.

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