California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed into law a bill that makes the punishment for certain sex crimes the same for queer and straight offenders – and resulted in an out state senator getting death threats.
Introduced by gay State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), the law gives judges the ability to keep LGBTQ teenagers off the state’s public sex offender registry if the teens are of similar ages, the same leeway the state already gives straight teens.
Get the Daily Brief
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you:
Currently, it’s illegal in California for people above the age of 18 to have sex with anyone under the age of 18. The new law doesn’t change that.
“It’s appalling that in 2020, California continues to discriminate against LGBTQ people, by mandating that LGBTQ young people be placed on the sex offender registry in situations where straight people aren’t required to be placed on the registry,” Wiener said at the signing ceremony.
“SB 145 simply ends that discrimination by treating LGBTQ young people the exact same way that straight young people have been treated since 1944.”
Right-wing media and politicians, however, have portrayed the new law as an attempt to legalize adult sex with minors despite numerous debunkings.
“Priorities. Today’s CA Dems believe we need more adults having sex with children, and when they do, they shouldn’t register as sex offenders,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted.
Donald Trump Jr. joined in the smear campaign as well, tweeting, “Why are Joe Biden Democrats working in California to pander to the wishes of pedophiles and child rapists? New California bill would lower penalties for adults who have sexual relations with a minor.”
After the far right offensive, Wiener was inundated with comments on social media that called him a “pedophile,” falsely said that his bill would legalize sex with 10-year-olds, and attacked his Jewish heritage, claiming that “Jews are at the forefront of promoting pro-homosexual and pro-pedophile propaganda.”
“There is so much misinformation about SB 145 — similar to misinformation about COVID, vaccines, masks, and the like — and it’s hard to track where it starts,” Wiener responded in a Facebook post. “Those who think homophobia and antisemitism are over are not paying attention.”