February 21, 2019 By Stephen Klarich

Democratic state senator Scott Wiener recently detailed his plans for bills he will be introducing in 2019. He plans a major push for legislation focused on LGBTQ issues and protecting the LGBTQ community, including gay adolescents.

Wiener said he plans to introduce a bill that would essentially allow gay teenagers to be included in “Romeo and Juliet” laws, which prevent some heterosexual teens from having to register as a sex offender. Let’s take a closer look at Wiener’s proposed law change.

Romeo and Juliet Laws in California

Romeo and Juliet laws are laws that prevent you from being charged with a crime if you engage in sexual intercourse with someone you are close in age with. For instance, in Texas, you cannot be convicted of statutory rape if the alleged victim is older than 13 years and you are no more than three years apart in age from the alleged victim.

California has partial Romeo and Juliet laws in place. These laws say that you cannot be charged with felony statutory rape if you are no more than three years apart in age from the alleged victim. However, you could be charged with misdemeanor statutory rape charges under these circumstances.

Do California Romeo and Juliet Laws Only Apply to Heterosexuals?

The issue that Wiener has with current Romeo and Juliet laws in California is that they technically do not apply to gay males. Under current law, an 18-year-old male who engages in sex with a 17-year-old female could face misdemeanor statutory rape charges. A conviction for this crime does not require sex offender registration.

However, if an 18-year-old male engages in sex with a 17-year-old male, the crime he could be charged with is not statutory rape because two males engage in anal sex instead of vaginal penetration. Instead, he could face sodomy charges under PC 286 or charges for another sex crime. This means he would have to register as a sex offender under PC 290 if convicted.

So, how is that fair? Wiener’s plan would make it so that gay individuals are treated the same as straight individuals.

What Happens Next?

Wiener’s plan was announced at a beginning-of-the-year event, but it has not been formally proposed as of yet. However, Wiener has been instrumental in creating laws that protect LGBTQ individuals and registered sex offenders. He helped passed a bill which will introduce a three-tiered system for the sex offender registry starting in 2021 and opened up a path for those who were arrested under old statutes that criminalized homosexual sex between adults to petition for removal from the registry starting in 2020.

Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one has been accused of statutory rape or you wish to end your requirement to register as a sex offender, you should speak with an experienced sex crimes attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled and knowledgeable defense attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing serious sex crime charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes attorney available near you no matter where you are located.

Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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