Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed a controversial bill into law Friday that will give judges greater discretion to decide whether adults who commit sodomy with minors should be placed on California’s sex offender registry.
The bill, which passed the Democrat-led legislature last week, created a firestorm as proponents said its main purpose was to end discrimination against LGBT adults who have oral and anal sex with minors who claim to be consenting to the sexual activity.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who introduced the legislation, said in a statement on social media the new law would put an end to “blatant discrimination against young LGBT people engaged in consensual activity.”
“It’s appalling that in 2020, California continues to discriminate against LGBTQ people, by mandating that LGBTQ young people be placed on the sex offender registry in situations where straight people aren’t required to be placed on the registry,” Wiener said.
“SB 145 simply ends that discrimination by treating LGBTQ young people the exact same way that straight young people have been treated since 1944,” he continued, and added:
And make no mistake: the politics here are hard, with the massive Trump, QAnon, and MAGA misinformation campaign against the legislation. The facts are clear: SB 145 simply ends anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Today, California took yet another step toward an equitable society.
Wiener claimed the existing law, which states oral and anal sex between an adult within ten years of the age of a consenting minor requires the adult to be registered as a sex offender, discriminates against LGBT individuals:
This bill is about treating everyone equally under the law. Discrimination against LGBT people is simply not the California way. These laws were put in place during a more conservative and anti-LGBT time in California’s history. They have ruined people’s lives and made it harder for them to get jobs, secure housing, and live productive lives. It is time we update these laws and treat everyone equally.
Existing state law allows judges to decide whether adults who have “penile-vaginal intercourse” with minors must register as a sex offender.
Wiener said the current law targets LGBT individuals because they do not engage in penile-vaginal intercourse.
“This is such horrific homophobia,” Wiener said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s irrational, and it ruins people’s lives.”
The primary stated goal of the measure appears to be to end automatic addition to the state’s sex offender registry list for adults who have oral or anal sex with a minor.
The Senate Floor Analysis of SB 145 states the measure:
Exempts a person convicted of non-forcible sodomy with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, or sexual penetration with a minor, as specified, from having to automatically register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registry Act if the person was not more than 10 years older than the minor at the time of the offense, and the conviction is the only one requiring the person to register.
California fails to mandate registration as a sex offender who commits a violation of sexual intercourse with a minor who is within 10 years of the offender. Sexual penetration is distinguishable from sexual intercourse in that the vaginal penetration is anything other than a penis.
“Additionally, the crimes of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 14 are punished in a separate code section, as lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14,” the analysis also said.
“This bill allows judges and prosecutors to evaluate cases involving consensual sex acts between young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, on an individual basis,” said Jackie Lacey, the Los Angeles County district attorney who wrote and sponsored the bill, reported USA Today. “I drafted this bill because I believe the law must be applied equally to ensure justice for all Californians.”
The legislation’s supporters are clearly focused on the newfound equality for adults engaging in any variety of sex act with minors who are as young as 14 years old. With the new law, adults who have either vaginal intercourse or oral/anal sex with young teens have an equal chance of keeping their names off the California sex offender registry if they can convince a judge the sex was “consensual.”
The Washington Examiner reported Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said as the bill was being debated:
I cannot in my mind as a mother understand how sex between a 24-year-old and a 14-year-old could ever be consensual, how it could ever not be a registrable offense. We should never give up on this idea that children should be in no way subject to a predator.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) also tweeted after Newsom signed the bill into law, “As a parent I’m appalled that last night our governor signed a law maintaining a 24-year-old can have sex with a 14-year-old and it not be considered predatory.”
“An adult who commits ANY sex act on a minor 10 years younger must be registered a sex offender,” he added. “Law must be changed.”
The legislation also assumes teens as young as 14 are capable of fully consenting to sex of any variety with any adult, regardless of sexual orientation.
Attorney and researcher Jane Robbins said in a statement to Breitbart News, “The Left wants to sexualize children, period, and to remove penalties for adult predators.”
“If Mr. Wiener were concerned about children, he would push to restore penalties on straight adult predators who prey on minors,” she added. “Instead, he extended the leniency to gay adult predators.”