CA Gov. Signs Law to Reduce Penalties for Sexual Relations with Minors

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ABOVE: The California Family Council’s Jonathan Keller appeared on Wednesday’s afternoon edition of CBN’s Newswatch to explain the new law. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill into law on Friday that allows judges to determine whether an adult should be listed as a sex offender after engaging in specific sexual acts with a minor.

SB 145 widens the discretion that is already granted to judges when deciding if a man should be listed on the state’s sex offender registry. 

However, the current discretion only applies to a male who has had vaginal intercourse. The new legislation permits judges to use the same discretion when the incident involves involuntary oral or anal sex.

The measure won’t apply when a minor is under 14, when the age difference is greater than 10 years, or when either party says the sexual act wasn’t mutually agreed upon.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who introduced the SB 145, said on social media that Newsom’s signing of the bill ended “blatant discrimination” against LGBTQ youth in California by treating them “the exact same way that straight young people have been treated since 1944. Today, California took yet another step toward an equitable society.”

The bill has been criticized by politicians across the state who insist that sex between a teenager and someone 10 years older is immoral and unjust. 

Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R-San Diego) tweeted, “As a parent I’m appalled that last night our governor signed a law maintaining a 24-year-old can have sex with a 14-year-old and it not be considered predatory. An adult who commits ANY sex act on a minor 10 years younger must be registered a sex offender. Law must be changed.”

Major Williams, a Republican, who’s running for governor of California in 2022, tweeted his strong disapproval of the bill citing that the law must change.

“I’m a parent. I’m appalled by Gavin signing #SB145 maintaining a 24-year-old can have sex with a 14-year-old & it not be considered predatory. An adult who commits ANY sex act on a minor 10 years younger must be registered a sex offender. CHANGE THIS LAW!,” he wrote.

And state Sen. Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) condemned Newsom for signing the controversial bill, calling it “absolutely disgusting.”

“Well what a shock. Newsom signed SB145, the bill that allows a 24 year old to have sex with a 14 year old and escape a felony conviction and requirement to be a registered sex offender. Absolutely disgusting.”

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