California Legislators Loosen Certain Offender Registry Requirements For Crimes Against Minors

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Earlier this week, the California legislature passed a controversial bill that relaxes sex offender registry requirements for sodomy and other acts with minors as a means to end purported “discrimination against LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry.”

As we reported earlier this year, SB 145 “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’s text.

Upon the governor’s signature, the law will not require that adults less than 10 years older than the minor who are convicted of having anal or oral sex with that minor be automatically added to the sex-offender registry, the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.

The bill was introduced last year by Democratic state Sen. Scott Weiner, himself a homosexual.

SB 145 passed the California Assembly by a bare minimum vote of 41-18 before passing 23-10 in the state Senate, according to the Chronicle, though some lawmakers expressed concern that the bill could create too lenient a landscape for predators.

“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 California state Rep. Lorena Gonzalez said, according to the Chronicle. “We should never give up on this idea that children should be in no way subject to a predator.”

Though minors still cannot legally consent to sex in California, Wiener’s bill would allow a judge to decide whether or not to place an adult on the state’s sex offender registry if a teenager between the ages of 14 to 17 had sex with that adult.

“SB 145 ends discrimination against #LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry,” Weiner said in a Tuesday tweet.

“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,” he added. “This discrimination destroys lives.”

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