“I cannot think of any more obviously fundamental human right than the right of a man to have sex with his wife… I think he is entitled to have it properly argued,” senior High Court judge, Justice Hayden was quoted as saying during a preliminary hearing on a case involving a married couple of 20 years.
The wife has learning difficulties and her condition is deteriorating, prompting social services to raise the alarm about the potential for sexual abuse in the relationship as they felt the woman was no longer able to make decisions about whether she consented to sexual relations. Social services ultimately brought the case to the Court of Protection in London.
The husband has pledged to no longer sleep with his wife but prosecuting lawyers are still pushing for a court order barring sexual relations to prevent the woman from being raped.
The judge’s remarks have sparked a wave of fury and indignation online, sparking widespread discussion regarding consent.
The judge agreed that more information was needed and called for additional evidence to be presented at a later hearing, while also ordering that none of the names in the case be reported in order to protect the identities of all parties involved during the hearing. Spousal sex without consent was explicitly banned in the UK in 1991.