Part of the job of a lawmaker is to be a law eraser. Washington legislators are sometimes asked to scrub anachronistic language from the statute books, not just because it’s embarrassing and offends our contemporary values, but because it can have damaging consequences today.
Consider laws from the early 1900s that condoned sex between adults and children as young as 10 years old, as long as they were married.
Believe it or not, this language has persisted for more than a century in state law, making Washington one of a handful of states still stuck in the dark ages. It’s a holdover from an era of underage brides, shotgun weddings and powerless children forced to grow up much faster than they should.
Sadly, the legacy of harm continues. Legislators this year are poised to end it.