SACRAMENTO — Discrimination against LGBTQ people in sex crime convictions will be outlawed under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom late Friday evening.
The measure, Senate Bill 145, will 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 will eliminate automatic sex offender registration in those cases and give judges discretion to make that decision.
Newsom’s decision to sign 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.”