A controversial bill seeking to end discrimination against California’s LGBTQ youth passed both state chambers on August 31.
With a California Assembly vote of 41-17 and a State Senate vote of 23-10, state legislators approved the Senate Bill 145 authored by openly gay State Senator Scott Wiener, Metro Weekly reported.
The bill calls for the same treatment of LGBTQ adolescents as their heterosexual counterparts surrounding sexual offense laws, according to an online version of SB145.
Last night the CA State Legislature passed #SB145 and it now goes to Gov. Newsom. It would lower the penalties for adults who have sex w/ willing same-sex minors. Judge could decide if adult has to register as sex offender if the offender is within 10 years of age of victim.
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 1, 2020
While state judges currently have “discretionary power” to determine if heterosexual teens should be listed on the sex offender registry, that is not the case for LGBTQ adolescents, the New York Daily News disclosed.
Judges can currently choose the fate of 14-to-17-year-old heterosexual teens who engage in “voluntary sexual relationship with a partner within 10 years of age,” and determine whether they should be listed as sex offenders, the outlet added.
LGBTQ teens in the same age range who participate in consensual oral or anal sex with a same-sex person younger than 18, on the other hand, are immediately registered as offenders, the Daily News said.
SB145 seeks to protect those teens, Wiener wrote on Facebook.
“It’s time to stop criminalizing LGBTQ young people & destroying their lives. It’s 2020 in California, after all. Why are we still doing this?” the senator expressed.
SB 145 was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and Equality California.
The bill now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk and must be signed into law before the end of September, the newspaper continued.
Here’s what you need to know about SB145:
1.Wiener Has Faced a Wave on Online Harassment for the Bill, Mainly From QAnon
Wiener has been at the heart of antisemitic and homophobic bullying in response to the bill — even to the point of receiving death threats, Mother Jones reported.
KTVU reported that QAnon conspiracy theorists are accusing him of seeking to allow gay men to have sex with minor.
“It started a few weeks ago on Instagram (with) a particular person who is part of the QAnon network, this cult-like pro-Trump network that runs around saying that there’s a big conspiracy to protect pedophiles and that prominent leaders are all pedophiles and it’s a big conspiracy,” Wiener told the station. “It’s a very delusional kind of cult at this point.”
On Instagram, the state senator received another message threatening to publicly “execute” him, Mother Jones continued.
“You’re dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. I’ll publicly execute you. I’m gonna embarrass you. Pedophile,” the private message read, Wiener relayed to to the outlet.
Another message threatened to decapitate him, he said, stating, “I’ll come cut your head off and deliver it to your mom if you even considering introducing your ‘bill.’ Got it?”
2. False Claims That California Legalized Pedophilia are Circulating on the Web
Within hours after the bill passed, misinformation began making the rounds online, claiming SB145 legalizes pedophilia, PolitiFact reported.
The outlet shut down several social media rumors insinuating that the bill legalizes the crime or allows adults to have sex with minors without being listed as sex offenders.
“All of the posts are provocative and many are unsubstantiated,” the outlet wrote.
3. The Bill Only Targets Ages 14 to 17
SB145 only seeks to address sexual victims aged 14 to 17, according to the bill’s online version.
A judge can also still require those convicted of sexual assault to a minor to be listed as a sex offender even if they are within 10 years of age or the same sex.
4. Police Previously Raided Gay Clubs Under the Umbrella of the Current Law, PolitiFact Says
According to PolitiFact, California police decades ago “used the fact that certain sex acts were illegal to raid gay clubs and charge people with crimes,” Asm. Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles explained.
Kamlager said during a press conference last month that the current law was passed ” during a more conservative time in California and historically these [police raids] were done systematically to target folks to remove people who identified as being LGBT from our society,” PolitiFact reported.
5. Sex With a Minor is Still Illegal in All Cases
To clear any misconceptions surrounding the bill, sex with a minor in all cases is still illegal under SB145, PolitiFact said.
The outlet addressed several social media claims that the bill protects rapists and makes statutory rape less of a crime.
“Nothing in the legislation would change penalties for statutory rape, which prosecutors in California can charge as either a misdemeanor or felony,” PolitiFact disclosed.
“It is illegal under current law for any adult to have any type of sex with a minor and that remains illegal under SB 145,” it added.