An amendment to a law attempts to equalize the amount of LBGTQ+ and heterosexual people on the sex offender list.
Disclaimer: What some may perceive as graphic language follows.
On Friday, Sept. 11, Gov. Gavin Newsom passed a bill proposed by state Sen. Scott Wiener which amends a previously established law exempting certain guilty criminals from automatically registering as sex offenders without the discretion of a judge.
Senate Bill No. 145 amends Sections 290 and 290.006 of the Penal Code, which relates to sex offenders. Prior to the amendment, a man who had consentual, vaginal sex with a minor who was not under the age of 14, and no more than ten years younger than him, was exempt from mandatory registration as a sex offender within the state of California.
In an effort to form a more equitable justice system, the bill now extends this exemption to individuals who have consentual oral or anal sex with a minor who meets the previously mentioned age standard.
Controversy has surrounded this bill as many critics have retorted that it legalizes pedophilia.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez commented: “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.”
Conservative news site, Breitbart, recapitulated similar themes, yet falsely claimed that the state legislature reduced penalties for oral and anal sex with willing children.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, this assertion and others like it were allegedly disseminated by QAnon, a group of deep-state conspiracy theorists. The group wrote death threats, as well as homophobic and racist comments to Sen. Wiener in response to his efforts to fix the state’s sex-offender list, which he views as discriminatory toward LGBTQ+ citizens.
The Republican Caucus of California issued a report regarding the bill and asserted that SB-145 shields child predators who lure children into having sex with them. They specifically said the bill would shield a “19-year-old [who lures] a 9-year-old.”
USA Today reported that SB-145 will not affect the criminal status of sexual relations between minors and adults, refuting a claim that was circulating around on social media. Instead, it fixes the issue that occurred where “An 18-year-old male convicted of having oral or anal sex with a 17-year-old male would be required to register as a sex offender, while a 24-year-old male convicted of having penile-vaginal sex with a 15-year-old female would not be automatically required to register — it would be left up to the judge.”
The age of consent for sexual intercourse in California continues to remain at 18-years-old. It is still a crime to have sex with a minor, but whether or not the crime is regarded as a misdemeanor or felony is up to the discretion of the judge overseeing the case, according to AP News.
The new amendment declared by SB-145 did not newly establish a law that declares sex between a 24-year-old and 14-year-old as permissible. This was previously signed into state law.
Azusa Pacific Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies, Brian J. Robinson, Ph.D, gave ZU News a comment.
“The reports that the bill legalizes pedophilia are a gross misrepresentation of [SB-145’s] full scope and actual effects.”
Sen. Wiener said in a statement that “California took yet another step toward an equitable society,” by passing this bill. He claimed that it encourages us to treat “LGBTQ young people the exact same way that straight people have been treated since 1944.”
The bill has received support from the California Police Chiefs Association, along with various civil rights organizations such as Equality California, a group who cosponsored the amendment.