California legislators passed a law Monday easing sex offender registry rules for those who commit sodomy or other sex acts with minors in order to end “discrimination against LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry.”
The bill, which now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, would “exempt from mandatory registration under the act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register,” according to the bill.
Adults less than 10 years older than the minor they are convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex with are not automatically added to the sex-offender registry. The decision whether or not to add them is left up to a judge under the new bill, referred to as SB145.
Under current state law, judges are given discretion to keep teenagers off the sex-offender registry for having sex with someone close to their own age, but it only applies to “penile-vaginal” intercourse, and gay and transgender rights advocates argue this discriminates against gay teenagers.
“This eliminates discrimination against LGBTQ youth in our criminal justice system,” the bill’s sponsor, San Francisco Democratic state Rep. Scott Wiener said about the legislation.
“SB 145 ends discrimination against #LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry. Currently, these youth are forced onto the registry for consensual sex — even if a judge doesn’t think it’s appropriate — in situations where straight youth are not,” Wiener added in a Facebook post. “This discrimination destroys lives.”
The bill passed through the 80-member state Assembly by a vote of 41-18, before being approved in the 40-member Senate by a vote of 23-10 with some legislators voicing their objection.
“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,” Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. “We should never give up on this idea that children should be in no way subject to a predator.”
Newsom has until the end of September to sign the bill into law.
Author: Andrew Mark Miller
Source: Washington Examiner: California legislature passes bill easing sex offender registry requirements for sodomy with minors