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Gay Lawmaker Threatened, Called Pedophile Over Sex Offender Bill

Scott Wiener

A gay California state senator is being subjected to homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs and even death threats over his bill to reform the state’s sex offender law to treat gay and straight sex equally.

Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco sponsored Senate Bill 145, which would give judges discretion over whether a young adult has to register as a sex offender after being convicted of having oral or anal sex with someone between the ages of 14 and 17, as long as the adult is within 10 years of the minor’s age and the sex was consensual. As it is now, the adult is automatically required to register as a sex offender for oral and anal sex, but not for vaginal sex. Any kind of sex with a minor would remain illegal under Wiener's bill.

Both the state Senate and Assembly have passed the bill, and Gov. Gavin Newsom must now decide whether to sign it. But Wiener is having to defend it against accusations that he’s enabling pedophilia.

“Senate Bill 145 is an antidiscrimination law,” Wiener told Sacramento’s KXTV this week. “It ends discrimination against LGBTQ people on the sex offender registry.”

“A 19-year-old has a 17-year-old girlfriend and they have sex, that is statutory rape,” he continued. “But the law right now says that the judge does not have to put that 19-year-old boy on the sex offender registry because of the kind of sex that they were having. “But if it’s a 19-year-old boy having sex with a 17-year-old boyfriend, the judge must put that 19-year-old onto the sex offender registry, even if it was completely consensual, even if they were boyfriends, even if there was nothing coercive or predatory about it.”

Wiener has received many negative comments on his social media feeds, such as “You and the Rest of the ungodly sodomites will be Judged for your crimes against humanity,” “THE MOST DISGUSTING AND VILE Thing that I have heard,” and “Pretty sure he’s been doing it with young boys for years.” But he has also received notices of thanks and support.

The Associated Press did a fact check regarding accusations that the bill would legalize pedophilia, finding the claims false. The allegation is “hogwash,” Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told the AP. Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, an author of the legislation, also defended it, saying it simply “allows judges and prosecutors to evaluate cases involving consensual sex acts between young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, on an individual basis.”

Wiener said many of those denouncing the bill appear to have bought into the QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that many high-ranking liberal politicians are involved in child sex trafficking.

“Despite massive, disgusting misinformation from the QAnon cult — including extreme death threats against me — we were able to pass SB 145 because it’s the right thing to do,” Wiener told the AP in a statement. “I’m grateful that my colleagues saw through the lies and understood that LGBTQ young people are having their lives destroyed simply for having consensual sex.”

Several other bills affecting LGBTQ+ Californians await Newsom’s signature, The Bay Area Reporter notes. They include the Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act, which would let trans prisoners choose to be housed according to their gender identity; one establishing the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund, which would provide grants to organizations serving trans, gender-nonconforming, and intersex people; another allowing trans Californians to update their marriage certificates and their children’s birth certificates to reflect their legal name and gender; one that would bar insurance companies from denying life and disability income policies solely because a person is HIV-positive; one ordering hospitals to collect sexual orientation and gender identity data for all communicable diseases, including COVID-19; and one requiring publicly held companies to include members of underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+ people, on their boards of directors.

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