North Dakota: Marital Rape is not really a thing?

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On March 27, 2019, a bipartisan sponsored bill SB 2185 was discussed by the Judiciary Committee in ND. The bill was simple, a child born from rape allows the mother (victim) to terminate the parental rights of the rapist father.

In an odd turn of events there was an amendment slipped in. This amendment had an exclusion of the type of rape. The exclusion referred to MARITAL RAPE. Apparently, the Republican Chairman of the committee had this amendment slotted in and discussed it with Legislative Council before it was discussed with the committee.


North Dakota state Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, chairs the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. John Hageman / Forum News Service

Adding an amendment before a “DO PASS” recommendation is curious. Who decided to slide in a marital rape exemption? Chairman of the House Judiciary claims there was a discussion, but no audio of discussion was found until AFTER the vote to add the amendment.

The audio of the discussion of the amendment already “discussed” and already drafted by the Legislative Council is below and what we heard was astounding.

In essence, the bill would allow judges to terminate the parental rights of somebody who pleaded guilty to – or was convicted of – a rape that led to the child’s birth if it’s “in the best interests of the child.” Personally, I cannot think of any situation where the rapist daddy would ever be in the best interest of the child to be included in their life. The discussion heard on the amendment from establishment Republicans was even more alarming than the fact that Marital Rape was exempt. In summary, the amendment would exempt for predicaments in which “the parent is married to the victim of the sexual act”.

It’s almost as if they don’t believe Marital Rape doesn’t exist. This notion is further reinforced in the statement that they assume that the victim will be divorced from the rapist so it wouldn’t be a case of a married couple? If so why put the exclusion in if it’s not something that may occur?

In the audio you also hear another establishment Republican, Rep. Paulson raise concerns for the child. “A child does better with both parents”. According to Paulson, the rapist father married or not to the victim should have rights because it’s in the child’s interest? Shipmate, you missed the mark on this one. Once you are a convicted rapist you are usually on a sex offender list and sex offenders don’t belong around kids, ever.

Marital Rape is a real crime and causes disruption in criminal proceedings whenever it is recognized as an exception in any legislation. The exemption is completely unnecessary and challenges the criminality of marital rape.

The excuses I’ve heard are many. The most alarming one is that many people plead guilty to avoid the hassle of court. Such an argument indicates a serious issue in the ND judicial system. Why would any person ever admit to a crime they didn’t commit? Convenience? In the state of North Dakota, it is usually POLITICS. These excuses are from the House members of the Judiciary Committee. Ergo, the Judiciary Committee is recognizing a fault in the North Dakota Justice System so they are making exceptions that may facilitate perpetrators of marital rape rather than fix the problem?
Why are these people constantly being re-elected into office and average terms of 20 years?

We’ve requested the name of the ONE member of the House that proposed the exemption and that has been difficult to determine. Why such secrecy when transparency is key in legislation?

Koppelman is an establishment Republican and has been in office for a very, very long time. According to members of the ND House and Senate, this isn’t the first instance of amendments and adjustments being slotted in on his watch.

As a constituent I will be requesting his resignation from the Ethics Committee as well as the Judiciary. Secret meetings, direct discussion with legislative council on verbiage without a “do pass” is very concerning and certainly speaks volumes on ethics.

Below is an excerpt from a case in New Jersey where exemptions of marital rape existed in some legislation that helped a rapist avoid charges.

Rape is rape. Children have no business being raised by rapists and the victims of rape should not be forced to have any relationship (shared custody) with their perpetrator – EVER.

UPDATE: Rep. Kim Koppelman was indeed the person who proposed and amended the bill to exclude marital rape.

Rep. Koppelman denied having made the proposal but we got the evidence that HE proposed and HE amended the article. Thus his written statement to local press in North Dakota denying he proposed or made the amendment is a lie.


This story is still developing and I have paired up with Laura Loomer to discover the REAL reason this exemption was slotted in. It’s an incredible coincidence this is also being discussed again in Minnesota.

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