A California state senator is seeking to salvage a bill that could decriminalize gay sex between young adults and minors in some cases, arguing that present state laws governing the sex offender registry unfairly discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is using the last few weeks of the legislative session to mobilize support for SB145, a bill he introduced last year that stalled in a key committee. The legislation would allow “judges discretion over sex-offender registration in all cases involving voluntary intercourse between teenagers ages 14 to 17, who cannot legally consent, and adults who are less than 10 years older.”
As The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
If a man has vaginal intercourse with an underage teenage girl, the judge can decide whether he should be placed on the sex offender registry based on the facts of the case. But if anal or oral sex, or vaginal penetration with anything other than a penis, is involved, the adult must register as a sex offender — a relic of a penal code that criminalized those acts until 1975, even between consenting adults.
“California’s sex offender registry continues to draw that distinction — an antiquated, outdated, leftover distinction — that somehow oral sex is worse than vaginal sex,” Wiener said. He added that such precedent is “horrific homophobia” that is “irrational, and it ruins people’s lives.”
“It makes no sense. It disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people because LGBTQ people are far less likely to be engaging in penile, vaginal intercourse,” Wiener told The San Francisco Examiner.
Wiener, who co-sponsored a 2017 bill that made knowingly exposing a partner to HIV no longer a felony, claims his support for SB145 has exposed him to danger. “I’ve been the subject of death threats and personal attacks, threatening to decapitate me and send my head to my mother,” Wiener said earlier this week during an online news conference. “This kind of slander, not just against me but against my community, is outrageous and we have to speak out against it.” He singled out QAnon conspiracy theorists, who believe he is attempting to legalize pedophilia.
Chad Felix Greene, a conservative journalist who is gay, wrote in The Federalist, “As has become far too common, opposing perceived right-wing attacks is more important than critically addressing dangerous legislation.”
Providing reasonable legal accommodation to this very specific and narrow experience should not be an open invitation for adults to exploit young teenagers by engaging in sex with them. Unfortunately, Wiener and other California lawmakers, who have had no formal pushback on this legislation so far, are more interested in pursuing grand social ideals rather than writing simple, rational law. Left-wing media is all too happy to use labels of “hate” and “conspiracy theories” to dismiss legitimate concerns.
Here's the state senator in California working towards that Goal