By Donald H. Harrison
SAN DIEGO — Legislation signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom concerning how California deals with consensual sexual relations between adults and minors—often referred to as “statutory rape” – has flared up as an issue in the mayor’s race between Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who voted for the measure, and City Councilwoman Barbara Bry who said she would have opposed it. Both candidates are Democrats.
The bill in question was SB 145 by State Sen Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) who has said was intended to treat homosexual and heterosexual offenders in the same way. Currently, he said, if a heterosexual couple engages in sex between an adult and a minor, the adult may or may not be required to register as a sex offender, depending on a judge’s determination of the totality of the circumstances.
On the other hand, in instances of homosexual sexual relations between an adult and a minor, the adult was automatically required to register as a sex offender, with judges having no discretion.
The law, as enacted, gives to judges discretion in both situations.
Gloria said this is simply a matter of equity, but Carl DeMaio, a gay Republican radio commentator, who has run unsuccessfully for mayor of San Diego and for a local congressional seat, has blasted the law.
“SB 145 allows a sex offender who abuses a minor child as young as 14 years of age, to avoid being placed on the sex offender registry,” he said. Whereas Gloria and Wiener say it ends discrimination against LGBT people, DeMaio labels it a “sexual predator benefit bill.”
The law for statutory rape in the case of heterosexual couples say that if the child victim is less than 14 years of age, the offender must register as a sex offender. Similarly, if the adult is over 24 years of age, he must register as a sex offender. That ten-year difference between the two sexual partners is the upper limit for a judge having discretion concerning whether the adult must register as a sex offender.
Often such cases involve girlfriends and boyfriends much closer in age, say 19 and 17, who have sex believing (possibly correctly) that they are in love. In the view of the proponents of the legislation, such intimacy often is the case among homosexual couples as well, and deserves to be treated in the same manner.
Nevertheless the ten-year difference in the current law causes many people concern, which was among the reasons the bill was able to pass in the state Assembly with only a bare majority of 41 votes.
On Thursday, Gloria released a series of homophobic messages that he received from anonymous sources, one of which was a cartoon saying “Kill all Pedos” and showed an arm firing a gun. “After receiving one brandishing a gun,” Gloria said, “it is clear that my campaign team and I must take this seriously. As such, we have reported the threats to the San Diego Police Department, and they are currently investigating.”
He blamed DeMaio and Television station KUSI for “knowingly misinforming voters about SB 145 in an effort to support my opponent,” and then added: “Barbara Bry has refused to denounce the homophobic rhetoric or blatant misinformation incited by KUSI or Carl DeMaio … KUSI President/ General Manager Micchael McKinnon and Martha McKinnon, both maxed out to Bry’s campaign, per campaign finance disclosures filed two days ago.”
Bry responded that “violence and threats of violence have no place in a civil society and we must condemn anyone who promotes such activity.”
She noted that Gloria and DeMaio have been political adversaries for at least ten years, and added that Gloria “appears to be blaming me for the actions of someone with whom he has had a personal feud for more than a decade.”
DeMaio “has no involvement in my campaign and has not endorsed me,” Bry added in a statement. “My campaign has nothing to do with Carl DeMaio’s text message opposing Todd Gloria.”
On the issue of SB 145, Bry said she respectfully disagrees with Gloria that “allowing more people to avoid the sex registry is the best way to achieve equity. Like three members of San Diego’s Democratic delegation in the Assembly, I believe we should be tough on child predators, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Her reference was to Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, Brian Maienschein, and Tasha Boerner Horvath.
Bry said Gloria’s supporters “are promoting political ads that have resulted in numerous personal threats against me and my campaign.”
Donald H. Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World. He may be contacted via email@example.com
Click here for the original source.