The ruling stems from a 2014 case involving a 17-year-old-boy accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl after offering her a ride to her grandmother's house.
According to The Guardian, the 16-year-old was unconscious when she was dropped off. She was taken to the hospital and given a test where her blood alcohol content was .34, which is more than four times the legal limit for driving a vehicle. The girl was taken to the hospital where a sexual assault examination was performed. The test confirmed that the boy's DNA was discovered around the girl's mouth and on the back of her legs.
The 17-year-old claimed the girl consented to performing oral sex, but she told police she could not remember anything that happened that night.
Witnesses told police the girl "was drunk" and two individuals had to carry her to the boy's car.
The 17-year-old was charged with forcible oral sodomy.
The case was thrown out by a trial judge and his ruling was upheld by The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. In a unanimous decision, the court said, "Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation." The court said its ruling is based on current state law which is silent on the issue of incapacitation due to alcohol intoxication.
The ruling has received a lot of criticism on Twitter.
Oklahoma is flat out wrong. I am heartbroken and enraged that educated people would actually make a PRO-RAPE ruling like that. Disgusting.— Charissa Hogeland (@CharissaAbigail) April 28, 2016
Oklahoma court thinks that if someone assaults you while you're unconscious: it's not rape. This is infuriating and wrong. #ThursdayThoughts— Shauna Richardson (@ShaunaRRichards) April 28, 2016
OK here's the thing: that oral rape in Oklahoma sounds like a LOOPHOLE in the language of the law, and it obviously needs to be fixed.— Lady Froneheart (@AmyTheFrone) April 28, 2016
If there is not affirmative consent, it's rape. The State of Oklahoma is dead wrong on this. https://t.co/gbXgELZbBM— Ashton Ayers (@AshAyersIA) April 28, 2016
Critics are outraged, but legal scholars say the decision is in accordance with Oklahoma state law, which protects those who are unable to consent to vaginal sex, but not oral sex.