Mario Liberta (defendant) and Denise Liberta married and had a son in 1978. In 1980, Mrs. Liberta was granted a temporary order of protection against Mr. Liberta. The order required Mr. Liberta to move out of the family home and to stay away from Mrs. Liberta. In 1981, with the understanding that another person would be present, Mrs. Liberta and her son went to Mr. Liberta’s motel room so that the child could visit with his father. The other person left after Mrs. Liberta and the child arrived. Mr. Liberta then forcibly raped and sodomized Mrs. Liberta in front of their child. The state of New York (plaintiff) charged Mr. Liberta with first-degree rape and sodomy. After being convicted, Mr. Liberta appealed on the grounds that his conduct was not criminal by virtue of a marital exemption to the rape and sodomy laws and that the rape law violated his right to equal protection.