March 20, 2008
Interesting Article: Queer Teens and Legislative Bodies: The Cruel and Invidious Discrimination Behind Heterosexist Statutory Rape Laws
MIchael Higdon posted an interesting Article on the SSRN network that you might enjoy. It discusses the implications of statutory rape laws for gay adolescents. Specifically, Michael points out that many states have made exceptions for two youngsters who engage in sex consensually. However, many of these exceptions are limited to heterosexual activity.
Here is the abstract:
Most states make an exception to their
statutory rape laws for sexual acts involving an adolescent victim, who
is below the age of consent, when the defendant is close in age to the
victim (i.e., generally no older than three or four years). However, a
few states explicitly limit such exceptions (commonly referred to as
Romeo and Juliet exceptions) to only those situations involving teens
who are of the opposite gender. Thus, adolescents in these states who
have sex with someone below the age of consent, and who are also the
same gender as the defendant, cannot avail themselves to the exception.
As a result, these teens are faced with felony convictions, large fines and mandatory sex offender registration - penalties that would not attach had the victim been the opposite gender. My article argues that such disparate treatment is not only cruel, but is also invidious discrimination that violates the Equal Protection Clause given that these laws serve primarily to stigmatize LGBT adolescents, a class of individuals that is already one of the most stigmatized and at-risk groups in American society.
-From SSRN, Michael J. Higdon, Queer Teens and Legislative Bodies: The Cruel and Invidious Discrimination Behind Heterosexist Statutory Rape Laws (2008).