International Megan’s Law is a terrible law. Its notification provisions trap registrants in a country that continues to punish them and its passport provisions expose them to significant risk of harm due to the addition of a “Scarlet letter”.
Having said that, however, there is a silver lining to that dark cloud — our community came together and we acted in concert for the first time. We did this by attempting to prevent the International Megan’s Law from being passed by Congress and signed by the President.
Hundreds of people throughout the nation came together and sent messages to elected officials in letters and E-mails as well as phone calls and tweets. And although our efforts to change the votes of elected officials were ultimately unsuccessful, we succeeded in establishing a unified message that was shared with the public via worldwide media coverage.
Our message was published in newspapers across the nation including the Monterey Herald, the Washington Post, and Al Jezeera America. And we earned the support of the Los Angeles Times in a strongly worded editorial that described the bill as “vindictive” and “wisely rejected numerous times in the past”.
And after the bill became law and a legal challenge was filed in court, the media continues to spread our message in newspaper articles as well as television and radio reports which refer to us as registrants and a civil rights movement instead of sex offenders. Their messages are being read and heard by the public, the very public we need to educate.
There is another silver lining to the dark cloud of the International Megan’s Law — it is possible that our legal challenge to this unconstitutional law will end in the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, we may have the opportunity to overturn the Court’s Smith v. Doe decision, which erroneously determined that registration is not punishment, but merely an administrative requirement.
This is not a time for despair. Instead, it is a time for us to recognize that we are now unified and that with a lot of hard work, we shall overcome. We shall overcome the ignorance and prejudice that exist today and once again live in peace and harmony knowing that the inalienable rights provided by the Constitution are indeed available to all.
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