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A new bill seeking to reduce criminal penalty for LGBT adults indulging in consensual sex with a minor was passed by the California General Assembly, comprising of a Democratic supermajority.
The new bill—SB 145—which is headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office, was tabled by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), an avowed gay man. The bill seeks to prevent the gay adults who sodomise or perform oral sex with underage teenagers from being enlisted to California’s sex offender registry.
New bill grants judges with discretionary power to decide if accuse needs to be registered as a sexual offender
The legislation will grant judges to use there discretion on listing an individual to the sex offender registry if the victim was an underage minor between the age of 14 to 17 and the age gap between the offender and the victim is less than 10 years.
The bill was passed by both the houses of the State Legislature on Monday evening. The California State Senate passed the bill by 23-10 vote and the Assembly passed it by 41-18 votes.
As per the existing law, it is illegal for an adult to enter into a consensual sexual relationship with a teenager between 14 and 17 years old, who can’t legally provide consent. However, vaginal intercourse does not require the offender to be listed on the state’s sex offender registry, as long as the offender is within 10 years of age of the minor.
With the new law, the judge will have the authority to decided, on a case to case basis, if the sex offender registration is required.
According to Wiener, who proposed the bill, the new legislation would serve to eliminate the discrimination against LGBTQ youth. Wiener added that the bill won’t change the potential sentence for having sex with minors but would grant the judges with discretionary power of whether to register the accused as a sexual offender.
Critiques argue the bill attempts to help accuse to get away without registering as sexual offenders
However, critiques of the bill contend that instead of changing the existing law to include vaginal intercourse with an underage teen as an act that needs compulsory sex offender registration, the bill passed by the California Legislature attempts to make all criminal sex acts with a minor over 14 equal by providing offenders with an opportunity to avoid necessary registration.