The law would protect the offender by giving discretion on being added to the sex offender registry, and not reducing their penalties if found guilty.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that gives judges greater discretion regarding the adding of young adults and teens to the sex offender registry who had consensual sex with minors aged 14 to 17.
Under the new standard, individuals who are less than ten years older than a minor, with the minor being older than 14, would not automatically be added to the registry, though they would still be guilty of a crime. LGBT advocates argued that the old policy discriminated against homosexual men.
State Senator Scott Wiener, who presented the bill, said the existing law 'disproportionately targeted LGBT young people for mandatory sex offender registration since they usually cannot engage in vaginal intercourse.' The bill would not change the potential sentence for having sex with an underage minor. Instead, the bill would give judges the ability to evaluate whether the accused be required to register as a sex offender.
The bill does not legalize pedophilia in California, despite many allegations claiming otherwise. The bill does not reduce the penalty for vaginal intercourse with a minor that the old standard had in place, nor does the bill apply to minors under the age of 14 or when either party says the sex was not consensual.