California Senator’s Sex Offender Registry Bill is Offensive

On January 18, 2019, California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 145 to “End Discrimination Against LGBT People Regarding Sex Offender Registration.”

The rationale behind his legislation is for California law to level the playing field between gay and straight offenders.

“For example, if an 18 year old straight man has vaginal intercourse with his 17 year old girlfriend, he is guilty of a crime, but he is not automatically required to register as a sex offender; instead, the judge will decide based on the facts of the case whether registration is warranted. By contrast, if an 18 year old gay man has sex with his 17 year old boyfriend, the judge *must* place him on the sex offender registry, no matter what the circumstances.”

Senator Wiener’s announcement goes on to say,

“SB 145 does not apply to intercourse of any kind with minors who are age 14 or younger. For those crimes, mandatory sex offender registration will continue to be the case for all forms of intercourse.”

If that were true, great, but the text of SB 145 does not support this claim. It merely states the convicted sex offender may apply for relief from the duty to register

“… if, at the time of the offense, the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor, as measured from the minor’s date of birth to the person’s date of birth.”

Regardless of the sex offender’s beliefs, an 18-year-old having sex with a 9-year-old is not “consensual.” Nor is it when a 21-year-old has sex with a 12-year-old.

I’m unclear why Senator Wiener believes these child sexual predators should be exempt from California’s sex offender registry but, should he reply to my request for clarification, I will update this article accordingly.

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