Governor Larry Hogan signs bill terminating the parental rights of rapists.
“Gov. Larry Hogan joined Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. and House Speaker Mike Busch on Tuesday to sign the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act into law.
The law, passed with the governor’s vocal support after nearly a decade of efforts by advocates, will enable rape victims who conceive a child to terminate the parental rights of their rapist.
At the signing, broadcast on Twitter, Miller called the measure a very difficult bill citing two reasons. In the first, a man could lose parental rights without a rape charge. And for another, once the rights are lost, the father isn’t responsible to support the child.
“One of the concession that the Senate had to make in order to allow this bill to get passed was that relieve this rapist of parental responsibility for the support of this child. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Miller said.
“So we’re going to have to come back. We’re going to have to deal with this issue year after year to undo some of the wrong that’s in this bill that got passed. But we got a first start, it’s a big first step and we’re going to move forward until we get this thing right,” he said.
At the outset of the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the presiding officers stated their support for this legislation, while the governor called on legislators to act expeditiously and pledged to sign it the moment it reached his desk.
In a statement issued by Hogan’s office, the governor said:
“Our administration made a commitment to work with legislative leaders to pass this important and long overdue legislation, and today, I am proud to sign this bill into law. No rapist should be allowed to maintain their rights as a parent, and no victim should ever be forced to interact with their attacker. The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act will ensure just that.”
At the signing, Busch specifically noted Del. Kathleen Dumais of Potomac for her efforts to get the law passed.
“She has been the champion, very patient, persistent to make this happen. Without her, we would not be here today,” Busch said.”