Thanks for your replies Burnt Offerings.
Proof of force (assault) was necessary for a partner to prove they had been raped inside a marriage, prior to 1982 (in the UK. I am unsure about the USA). http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/maritalrape2.php
Since then, courts can determine whether rape has occurred based (essentially) on who is most believable, the defendant or the plaintiff. And this article suggests that the law can be applied retrospectively in some territories. From: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-aust...
Prosecutors claimed the Ferryden Park man raped his wife in 1963. He argued he was immune from charges as common law held sex was a matrimonial right. In 2010, the District Court postponed the man's trial pending his High Court challenge....
Law Society SA president-elect John White said the case, which has attracted keen interest from the state's legal community, reinforced modern standards. "There have been rape in marriage cases and quite clearly the modern view, which everyone would share, is rape is rape, whether it's in marriage or not," he said. Unquote.
Of course there are no witnesses or evidence regarding rape in marriage, so it is only balance of probability or likelihood that juries can judge. Men commit far more serious crime (especially rapes) than women and everyone wants to protect married women and their rights. However, if a woman were to try to hit back at her husband by accusing him of rape there might be occasions when the husband is innocent and can provide no proof to that effect.
If someone can be convicted of rape in marriage on the simple balance of probability that he is guilty, why not apply that standard in other cases? This may be happening and rape in marriage seems to be the precedent for it. Arguably, a dangerous development.
I am not suggesting that rape in marriage should be legal. I am simply pointing out that it is not a simple matter of 'rape is rape'.'Murder is murder' but perhaps one still needs to prove murder beyond the 'balance of probability' that is all that seems to be necessary for a successful prosecution of marital rape.
As far as retrospective legislation is concerned - every case of retrospective case proves that one is not safe from prosecution merely by staying within the law.
This is on the Atheism forum because there are no humanism or ethics forums on Topix, so many of us feel it is permissible to introduce humanist or ethical Topix here, where religionists are uncommon and atheists are many. I am interested in a strictly rationalist view of this issue.