CA: Lawmakers pass bill to apply sexual offense laws equally to LGBTQ people

September 2, 2020, 4:43 pm

California lawmakers have approved a bill that seeks to apply the state’s sexual offense laws for straight people equally to LGBTQ individuals.

Under current law, it is a crime for a person over the age of 18 to have sex with a person under the age of 18. But if an 18-year-old high schooler, for example, has “penile-vaginal” sex with their 17-year-old girlfriend or boyfriend, judges are allowed to exercise discretion in terms of punishment, and the older teenager is not automatically required to register as a sex offender.

However, if a teenager engages in oral or anal intercourse with a significant other of the same sex who is not yet 18, they are automatically placed on the sex offender registry. The law is based on the state’s since-repealed anti-sodomy laws of 40 years ago, where oral or anal sex between two consenting adults of any gender — including male-female relations — was illegal.

Frustrated with the disparity in the law, California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill, SB 145, to make the punishment for LGBTQ individuals equivalent to their straight counterparts. If the bill is enacted, it will still remain a crime to engage in sex with someone below the age of consent, but judges will be asked to take into account the facts of the case before automatically placing an individual — of any gender or orientation — on the sex offender registry.

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Author: Florida Action Committee
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