No, They Did Not 'Legalize Pedophilia' In California
For weeks, rightwingers have been clasping at their pearls and crying out that California was about to legalize pedophilia — a statement so ridiculous that even I didn't bother to look into what they were on about.
But it's gone so far that even Laura Ingraham tweeted about it last night, claiming California was on its way to treating pedophilia as a protected lifestyle, and that if Joe Biden becomes president, it could spread across the whole entire United States.
Pedophilia on its way to being recognized as a protected lifestyle. Congratulations, California. And happening n… https://t.co/eYfPKdwYwn— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham)1600045008.0
This has been something the Right has been insisting would happen since forever, arguing it was a slippery slope from gay marriage to legalized pedophilia. Why? Because they didn't want gay people to get married. Now they're claiming it's coming to pass and that Joe Biden will lead the way. Right.
Turns out, the thing they were on about was a bill California Governor Gavin Newsom signed that would treat gay men the same as straight men when determining whether or not they should go on the sex offender's registry for a statutory rape offense.
The law right now, as it stood, allowed for a judge to determine whether or not a person guilty of statutory rape — in cases of consensual sex where the victim is 14-17 and the defendant is less than 10 years older than they are — should go on the state's sex offender's registry for the rest of their lives. But only if they are heterosexual. If the defendant was a gay man, the judge did not have that discretion. The new law allows the judge discretion regardless of the sexual orientation of the defendant. That is it.
It does not mean it is legal, it does not mean the defendant will not go to prison, it means only that it will be up to the judge to decide whether, when they get out of prison, they will be on the sex offenders registry. Now, one can argue a judge should not have that discretion and seek to pass a law to prohibit that for either gay or straight defendants, but laws applying just to gay people are discriminatory. Duh.
This is, of course, not about actual pedophilia — starting with the fact that if it were, it would not even involve persons over the age of 14, because pedophiles are not interested in children who have gone through puberty. Attraction to teenagers who have gone through puberty is ephebophilia. Also, just for the record, most child molesters are not even pedophiles. As with those who rape adults, it is not about sexual attraction, it is about power and sadism and usually the reason they go after children is because they are easier targets than adults are. This is an important thing to know so that people do not assume that just because someone is sexually attracted to adults that they will not molest children under certain circumstances.
Also, if you wanna be really real about things, pedophilia is legal everywhere. It's child sexual abuse that is illegal. If someone is a pedophile and never acts on it, they don't get put in jail or put on the sex offender's registry.
But I digress.
What this is about is the fact that the Right does not have a whole lot to go on right now, really. Trump has basically decimated the country, everyone is miserable, and frankly, the Right has been at a real loss to explain what it is they even believe, ever since they lost the same-sex marriage debate. They're out there making all kinds of shit up, because actual reality does not work for them. The only thing they do know is that the only thing, probably, that everyone in the country can agree is bad is molesting children — so they are grasping onto that one for dear life. They want to make this election a choice between "child molestation is bad" versus "child molestation is good," despite how no one is out there claiming the latter. Because that's all they've got.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse