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California

CA: In effort to change sex-crimes law, Newsom’s LGBTQ rights record faces a test

[latimes.com – 9/11/20]

SACRAMENTO — A California bill intended to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ people in sex crime convictions has captured the attention of Republicans and far-right conspiracy theorists, who are demanding a veto from Gov. Gavin Newsom and say state Democratic leaders are putting teenagers at risk.

The measure, Senate Bill 145, would amend existing state law that allows judges to decide whether an adult convicted of having vaginal sexual intercourse with a minor should register as a sex offender in cases in which the minor is 14 years or older and the adult is not more than 10 years older than the minor.

Currently, adults who are convicted of having oral or anal sex with a minor under those circumstances are automatically added to the state’s sex offender registry. SB 145 would eliminate automatic sex offender registration in those cases, and give judges discretion to make that decision.

Newsom’s decision to sign or veto the legislation promises to have both a state and national political impact. Along with opposition from Republicans in the state Legislature, supporters of President Trump and far-right conspiracy theorists have seized on the bill in an attempt to use the measure as a political wedge issue and rallying cry, with some falsely claiming on social media that California is legalizing pedophilia.

Assemblyman Chad Mayes, an independent from Yucca Valley, warned fellow lawmakers about the potential political consequences just moments before he voted in favor of SB 145 on Aug. 31, the final night of the state legislative session.

“This is one of those bills you will take a political hit for,” said Mayes, who left the Republican Party in 2019. “But we also know that it’s righteous and just. This is the time to step up.”

The bill’s author, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), said the disparity in current state law that SB 145 would address is a remnant of California’s old anti-sodomy laws, many since repealed, that were intended to criminalize sex between gay men.

The intent of SB 145, he said, is to address cases in which two people close in age — an 18-year-old and 17-year-old dating in high school, for example — are in a sexual relationship. The 18-year-old can still be convicted of a sex offense but should not automatically be registered as a sex offender, a lifelong designation that is an impediment to finding employment, a place to live and other necessities of life, Wiener said.

“We need to stop criminalizing teenagers for having sex,” he said.

Read the full article

 

Join the discussion

  1. SR

    It’s incredibly annoying hearing even allies like Senator Wiener explicitly state how punitive and debilitating the registry is, yet seemingly nothing being done about it, and in fact, all too often, have everything further compounded. I hope Newsom does the right thing and signs this.

  2. guest

    If it walks like punishment, if it talks like punishment, chances are it is punishment. You know it, Senator!

    https://twitter.com/ShannonGroveCA/status/1300957194335039493

    • New Person

      “lower penalty”

      Since this senator cites it is a penalty that is lowered when not put on the registry, then the scheme is no longer regulatory as its intent is to punish.

  3. Resident

    Anyone else find it funny that no one said anything of this fervor for the tiers? But make the law even and all the wolves come out.

    I guess no one said this would be easy.

  4. ab

    The main problem is there will always be circumstances where one or more teenagers engage in “sexual” conduct that one or more other people their age or older will disagree with. Sometimes these disagreements will reach authorities. Unfortunately no simple solution exists because regardless of the age gap as long as one minor is under eighteen at the federal level anyone doing anything with them can be prosecuted. In certain States the age of consent is eighteen, in others it is seventeen, and the rest it is sixteen. When referring to interactions between people from different countries laws are even more varied. Additionally even in the United States restrictions are on the books in some areas differentiating between same and opposite gender interactions or put another way a male/female pair might be able to do something sooner than a female/female pair or a male/male pair. Let’s not forget other conditional exceptions like Romeo and Juliet laws, within a marriage, or possibly other things.

    Oh sure don’t criminalize teenage sexual exploration, but even the most progressive nations in the world haven’t allowed a free for all. Despite attempting to assign an age marker for the allowance of such things, not everyone will be ready to try them at the same time. Providing the balance between safely beginning to interact sexually without threat of prosecution and rooting out abuses when they happen is challenging. Perhaps eventually a set of reasonable social solutions will be able to be proposed and tested resolving many of the balancing issues and probably sex offenses overall. For now we are stuck with sometimes mediocre measures and other times ill conceived ones. This legislation leans more towards the mediocre end of the spectrum.

  5. w

    Divide and conquer. Make it look like Kalifornia democrats want to “improve” the situation for RSOs, and then play off the republican opposition.

    The game is rigged. Just more proof that the ones running the system are good at hiding their true intent. Just liberally (lol) sprinkle a little BLM or LGBTQ and poof! Biden wins again.

  6. Sunny

    Newsom signed the bill into law today!
    https://www.eqca.org/newsom-signs-sb145/

    Please consider thanking Scott Wiener and Gavin Newsom via the state email forms or on social media: @Scott_Wiener @GavinNewsom

    Congratulations on SB145 being signed into law today! Your courage in standing up for LGBT equality is commendable and this law will help many LGBT youth in years to come. Thank you!

    • DPH

      Thank You Sonny, We have given a small donation every quarter taken out from HRC & EQ CA .org and you found out before we did and we have donated before 2008 for our Marriage here. Been working on SB145 with The Senator’s Office for quite sometime before the 1st Loss of this thoughtful bill for our LGBTQIA youth.
      Things might of been different during JC over thirty seven years ago for Our Community having not to even hide back then to stay alive, sound familiar RC’s? Not pretty back then when we were NOT even Tolerated let alone despised and beyond The ‘F’ word my friends and family used. Almost twice institionalized twice for having INPURE THOUGHTS towards the same sex and sent to Reverse Therapy and suggested of Castration and on my way “. To Hell” for such Abmination. Well, guess they were right because I got caught during early college years and YES, they must of been RIGHT because I’m here now for life for Living another and on.
      The Wall, which is virtually on plast we red for anyone to see my face and details. Im waiting to get stoned. But have been beaten, trash canned and Spit Uoon for my evil acts of Love and paying for it with no family talking to me AIDS brother dying on me, and 3 str8 friends and guys looking disgusted not wanting near me to talk our community l.

  7. New Person

    It seems odd for people to contest “a civil scheme”. This law doesn’t absolve the criminal act. It just doesn’t enhance it with this “civil scheme”.

    Therein lies the Public Relations crux. For those registered, we do not want to wish this “enhancement” to anyone. For the public, they see it as relieving punishment and crime.

    The new law doesn’t relieve the act of the crime, though statutory in nature. It makes all sexual acts equal with respect to the enhancement of their crime as written in the law. Having sexual intercourse between a male and a female does not automatically put one on the registry, yet any sex outside of tradition sexual intercourse does. There is no equality in the current law as is among the gay or bisexual communities because gay people cannot engage in traditional intercourse when the act of intercourse is between the same sex.

    The PR battle isn’t really a battle as there isn’t equal push back in the media, which makes what Sen. Weiner is doing amazing. He plead to persons in his circle, the legislative circle. A person can be reasoned with facts. One cannot reason with a mob.

    This law promotes equality by removing the automatic enhancement of a civil scheme. Anyone attacking it is proving that registry is being used as a form of punishment.

    I keep referring to the movie Men In Black quote, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet.”

  8. Brandon

    “ we need to stop criminalizing teens for having sex.” Did you just remember biology or your youth lawmaker, teens are sexual by nature and there’s no law you could pass to stop it. Umm you need to stop criminalizing sex between adults and get out the bedroom.

  9. Saddles

    In an effort to change sex crime laws now whoever had the forthought to write this article had good intent. One can’t tell a person what color of hair to die if one dye’s their hair nor can one tell them today how much jewelry to wear but they can inform them of the truth which is written in the bible.

    Sure one’s viewpoint is just as wrong as the others and thats why one has to get inspiration, learn wisdom and understanding. Many things in this nation have their pro’s and con’s and many folks are upset at the balance of justice.

    Their’s nothing wrong with biblical issues and true statements or are we all weak in many area’s. I went to hear a court case once. Yes dad knew the judge since it was a small town. No one even thought about a sex registry system but their were issues of human relations, discrimination and vagrancies, plus a who lot more in America.

    It was interesting some of us setting in the courtroom even in Jr. High if I remember or was it high school, listening to view’s and other matters as we all can at times form an opinion that differs from one another.

    One wonders where is a second chance in many of these laws or view’s. This sex offender matter or ordeal issue is here for a reason and so is this virus. Are we all trying to second guess things out, reason things out by earthly means or biblical means.

    And than along came Jesus and… this is my words talking… He said had wait a minute those Pharisee people, those without sin cast the first stone. One wonders today who is throwing stones today. Government is interesting if one wants to pursue it as a vocation.

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