You Mean 18-y.o.s with 16 y.o. Girlfriends AREN’T Sex Offenders?

Hey Readers! Once in a while, common sense actually wins a biggie. That’s what’s  happening right now in Texas, where the governor seems set to sign a “Romeo & Juliet” bill that would prevent teens and young adults who have consensual sex from ending up as official “Sex Offenders,” required to register for life.

Yes, that’s really how the law stood — until now. According to the Star-Telegram:

Under current law, according to a legislative analysis of the bill, there is no such thing as consensual sex with a minor in Texas. Currently, a man who is 18, 19 or 20 in a consensual sexual relationship with a girl under 17 could be convicted of sexual assault of a minor and would be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

That is beyond crazy. That is LIFE ruining — and for what? Who does it help? No one. Who does it hurt? The very people it is supposed to protect: young people.

Thank god the legislature had the gumption to re-introduce the Romeo & Juliet bill, which the Governor, Rick Perry, vetoed in 2009. Let’s give a big hand to its sponsors: Texas State Rep. Todd Smith and Texas Sen. Royce West (one Democrat and one Republican — this is NOT a partisan issue)!

While we are at it, let’s also hear it for Mary Duval, a dogged (and, by the way, blind) activist who has been working for YEARS trying to make our country’s sex offender laws do what they were intended to do — keep creeps away from kids — rather than rounding up anyone who ever had sex at a young age. She’s founder of the extremely moving site, Ricky’s Life,. It was through Mary that I first about how the sex offender laws were catching more than just “the bad guys.” Like a net that catches dolphins along with tuna, they were catching some people who did nothing more than have sex with someone slightly younger, along with hapless humans who peed in public or even streaked.

When the law prosecutes threats and non-threats with equal zeal, something is very wrong. Today, a little bit got righted. — L

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