California Legislature Softens Sex Offender Registry Requirements For Sodomy With Minors

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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The California legislature passed a law late Monday relaxing sex offender registry requirements for sodomy and other acts with minors in efforts to end “discrimination against LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry,” according to the bill’s sponsor.

Democratic California state Sen. Scott Weiner, a gay politician who represents San Francisco, first introduced SB 145 in January 2019. The bill “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 text of the legislation.

Under the new bill, which has not been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, adults less than 10 years older than the minor who are convicted of having anal or oral sex with that minor would not automatically be added to the sex-offender registry, the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.

Current California law requires that adults must register as sex offenders if they are convicted of having anal or oral sex with a minor, though a judge may decide whether to place an adult male not more than 10 years older than the minor on the registry if he has vaginal intercourse with a teenaged girl, according to the Chronicle.

In 2015, the California Supreme Court argued that vaginal intercourse can lead to pregnancy and that requiring a father to register as a sex offender may inhibit his ability to support his child and find a job through social stigmatization, according to the Chronicle. (RELATED: Here Are The Details On California’s Sex Education)

SB 145 passed the California Assembly by a bare minimum vote of 41-18 before passing 23-10 in the state Senate, the Chronicle reported, though some lawmakers raised concerns that the bill allows for mistreatment of minors.

“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 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 sex-offender registry if a teenager between the ages of 14 to 17 had sex with that adult. (RELATED: ACLU Told CA Teachers To Help Students Obtain Abortions Without Parental Notification, Video Reveals)

“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. This discrimination destroys lives.”

Wiener did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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