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California Legislature Passes Bill Easing Sex-Offender Registry Requirements

'This discrimination destroys lives...'

The California legislature passed a bill on Monday that would ease sex-offender registry rules for those who commit sexual acts with minors in order to end “discrimination against LGBTQ young people.”

The bill, which now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, 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.

Adults who are not 10 years older than the minor would not be automatically added to the sex-offender registry if convicted of engaging in oral or anal sex with a minor, the bill—referred to as SB145—states.

Instead, the decision to add them to the registry would be up to individual judges.

Current law allows judges to make individual decisions to keep teenagers off the sex-offender registry for having sex with someone close to their own age.

These exceptions only apply to “penile–vaginal” intercourse, though, which is discriminatory against gay teenagers, according to LGBT activists.

“SB 145 ends discrimination against #LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry. 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,” state Rep. Scott Wiener said in a statement. “This discrimination destroys lives.”

The bill passed California’s state assembly by a vote of 41-18, and the Senate by a vote of 23-10. Many state legislators, however, objected to the bill.

“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 Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. “We should never give up on this idea that children should be in no way subject to a predator.”

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