In a proposed bill that would wipe many a criminal record clean, Britain’s Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone wants to retroactively expunge any convictions for violating age-of-consent laws that for decades discriminated against gays. While gay sex was decriminalized in some parts of the U.K. in the 1960s (and other parts in the 1980s), the age of consent stood at 21, then was pushed to 18 in 1994, and finally down to 16 in 2000 — which is the age-of-consent for heteros. But anyone found guilty of violating the law in years past still had a tarnished record, and before 2003 was included on the Sex Offenders Register. Prime Minister David Cameron, who made a stab at gay outreach during his election, will thus make good on a campaign promise. Is this a big deal? Absolutely. A 22-year-old man who had sex with a 20-year-old man in 1993 would still, to this day, be forced to reveal his criminal record to potential employers, who — you guessed it — would be inclined to deny a job to a sex offender. Says Featherstone: “Such men will never again have to disclose that information. I hope very much that those gay men whom that has inhibited from volunteering will now find that inhibition removed.”
that’s awesome good for them.
Now, if only America could get around to eliminating its pointless sex offender registry program we’d all be better off.
@jacknasty: The sex offender registry is NOT pointless. If you raped or molested someone you should have it known for life.
The program is flawed in that it shouldn’t count consensual sex acts that are “statutory rape” of anyone over the age of 16, and they should do a better job of enforcing it.
However, how do you expect cops to do things such as police sexual offenders when they are to busy pulling every nice car over because a black person is driving and sending black men to jail for possessing an ounce of weed.
Well hey that Britain. If they’re fine with their kids being corrupted, that’s on them. Any grown man that diddles a boy under the age of 18 in America needs to be put UNDER the prison.
@Avenger: Yup, its just the UK that sees 16 as the age of consent…
Oh wait, its not! A great deal of the states in the USA see 16 as the age of consent as well.
If you want to make the argument that a person of the age of 16 can not consent then you need to medically back it up. Since the latest studies have shown that the frontal lobe (the part that would most likely be needed for consent) isn’t fully developed until the age of 23.
@Daez: So, are you advocating for the age of consent to be set at 23, or are you feeding the above poster lines?
23 would be a horrible age… Prison crowding would become an even more overwhelming issue, the sex offender data base would become so bombarded with silly enteries that it would no longer serve a purpose, and the stigma placed on sex would only grow larger- thus causing people to hush up about activities and maybe avoid medical attention when needed (rise in STD rates, unwanted pregnancies). Additionally, I have also read that frontal lobe research may also suggest that development is case-by-case- as any anatomical development usually is. So, would we have to sit down with EVERYBODY and decide the age case-by-case?
P.S.- Good on the U.K.!
@Daez: There a huge difference in maturity between a 16 year old and a 20 year old. The older person would be causing abuse although the harm caused would be nowhere near as bad as when the difference in age is higher. Age of consent laws should take nto account the number of years one person is older than the other. There’s the ”half your age plus seven” rule which means that the youngest someone can be is half your age pluse seven.
@Daez: There a huge difference in maturity between a 16 year old and a 20 year old. The older person would be causing abuse although the harm caused would be nowhere near as bad as when the difference in age is higher. Age of consent laws should take nto account the number of years one person is older than the other. There’s the “half your age plus seven” rule which means that the youngest someone can be is half your age pluse seven.
So basically they’re going to legalize pedophilia and allow pedophiles to get rid of their records?
Um, in the UK it is perfectly legal to have sex with a 16yo female but illegal to have sex with a 16yo male. The use AIDS as an excuse but logic tells us they obviously, if this is the case, don’t care if a 16yo girl catches it.
In the UK the age of consent for both heterosexual relations and gay male relations was 16 (there was never a set agae of consent for lesbian therefore legally never illegal).
I’m glad thsi law will help expunge peoples’ records who were placed on the sex offenders list because of narrow minded homophobia. However, I hope they review the cases carefully as I would want someone taken of the sex offenders register if they should def still be on it.
That being said can we please now actually take hetero statutory rape seriously. It seems only if its between gay men is anything done.
The sex offender registry is pointless because it does nothing to prevent crimes, it ignores the possibility of successful rehabilitation, it costs a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere and it ruins the lives of people who are guilty of rather benign crimes.
Sex crimes are very unlikely to be committed by strangers, when you realize this it really takes the weight out of the argument for sex offender registration. 90% of child molestation is committed by somebody the child/parents knew prior to the incident. And 50% are committed by family members, which registration has pretty much no power to prevent.
Being able to go online and see where “sex offenders” live is going to have little to no affect on the likelihood that you or your children will be a victim. Especially considering that sex-offenders are all lumped together in one category regardless of the crime. There are teenagers forced to register as sex offenders for violating child pornography laws over things like having naked pictures of their girlfriend/boyfriend on their cell phones when they are the same age as the victims. People have been convicted on child porn charges for downloaded songs online that had porn pics embedded in the audio files. The sex offender registration system needs to be drastically overhauled or done away with completely.
@jacknasty: Wow, you doth protest too much…do you have personal experience with the sex offenders register?? I really think it’s incumbent upon the gay community to make it clear to sick pedos who like to lump themselves in with the community that their sick asses are not welcome. I have very mixed feelings about what Britain has done…I don’t know if a 16 year old is mature enough to be having sex with an adult, male or female. All pedos should die!!
@kayla: So an 18 year old who has sex for the first time with the 16 year old they’ve been dating for 3 years…should die? First of all, that’s not even paedophila. But most people, who are stupid, won’t recognize that. We need to look at these incidents as a case by case basis. We can’t just lump them all into one category. It’s far more complicated than an “under 18” issue and the whole system needs to be re-evaluated. For example: My best friend was a high school teacher for 13 years. While tutoring a student at his home, the student went through his stuff and stole a porno. When the kid’s parents found it, he told them where he got it and my friend was convicted of corruption of a minor and labeled as a sex offender for “giving” the kid porn. He can’t teach ANYWHERE and that is on his record forever and is held against him when trying to find a decent job in any field of employment.
And would someone explain to me how the age of the person the 16 year old is willingly having sex with should matter? What’s the difference if they have boinking a 23 year old or another 16 year old? How does the other person being over 18 automatically equal sexual abuse? Lets face it, if you’re old enough to drive, you’re gonna try to get laid. We have to get rid of this Puritan mindset and stop treating these pubescent teenagers like they are still in diapers and recognize that, while they may not be fully mature, they are still sexual beings. And we need to RESPECT that. Not take advantage of it, but respect that they are becoming adults and the issue needs to be dealt with in a mature, thoughtful manner…not this automatic demonizing.
@Paschal: So, by your rational it would make it completely ok for a 31 year old to sleep with a 16 year old. After all, 16/2+7=15+16=31. So, while it is ok for a 31 year old to sleep with a 16 year old its not ok for a 32 year old to sleep with a 16 year old.
The age of consent in many places is 16 because at that point the 16 year old is a fully functioning sexual being with very raging hormones.
@jacknasty: The sex offender list is not pointless. It is deeply flawed. It should be enforced better, and anyone trying to work around it should be sent to prison for life. Under full enforcement, it keeps pedophiles from living next to school buildings or working in day care centers. There is no possibility of rehabilitating a pedophile. It is an ingrained sexual attraction. The only “benign” crime would be statutory rape, and that is why the sexual offender registry in the United States has several ranks with statutory rape being the lowest.
Your point being? Seriously, in a crime that destroys the life of children and in worse than murder, 10% is a pretty huge fucking number. Also, parents that do research might be a little more careful of who their friends are if they see their friends names on such a list.
Sex offenders are NOT all lumped together regardless of the crime. They are given ranks. Have you never bothered to read this list you are so against? Knowing you live next door to a pedophile is a pretty good thing since those “neighbors” are counted as that 40% you are talking about.
So, your argument should be directed at child pornography laws in the case of sexting not at the sexual offender list. Also, if they are forced to register, it is as the lowest rank and they have a time period attached in many cases. Please link to a story where what you claim happened with the pictures embedded in a song actually happened.
The sexual offender registry needs stronger enforcement. It has still prevented countless tragedies. But, hell, I’m in favor of the death penalty for severe pedophiles (unfortunately the USSC doesn’t agree).
Our current age of consent in the United States is 16 – I guess most people don’t know that! Look it up, it’s been that way for many – many years!
Why are people here gobbing on about pedophilia? This news has nothing whatsoever to do with pedophilia.
@Daez: the half+7 rule isn’t based on the age of the younger person but the older. so it should be 31/2+7=22 or 23(depending on how you round). soooo no, 31 dating 16 isn’t really acceptable by that rule.
@REBELComx: I never said that…as I stated I have mixed feelings about the ruling. I do not think an 18 year old having sex with a 16 year old is pedophilia. However a 30 year old having sex with a 16 year old…that’s a little tricky…Is it pedophilia? I’m not sure…
What I did say, is that the gay community needs to be more vociferous at pushing pedos to the side, who like to high-jack the whole civil rights issue, trying to compare themselves to gays and stating that they have a right to have sex with children…etc. I just think some are too nonchalant about the whole having sex with kids thing, and I don’t think it’s healthy for the gay rights movement or society at large, especially the freaking kids…There’s this idea that because others judge gays too harshly, many gays are reluctant to judge these freaks, when they should be extremely vocal that this sickness is NEVER to be compared with homosexuality. At least that’s my point of view…you can hold another…
What bizarre and puritan attitudes some of you Americans have. If you were still living in the UK, we’d encourage you all to get on a ship and take your silly ideas elsewhere. Oh wait. We did that already.
First off, it’s not pedophilia. Pedophilia is an attraction to prepubescent children, not anyone under the age of 18.
On attraction to prepubescents, I’m sure you would get near-universal understanding of it being reprehensible to act on those urges either directly through molestation or indirectly through accessing child pornography. And I don’t think pedophiles are really pushing to march in parades anymore – NAMBLA is nothing more than a website and mailbox somewhere.
But we always tread into murkier territory when we discuss pubescent and post-pubescent teenagers. I think there’s considerable value to current age of consent laws, provided they’re equalized across orientations. But that doesn’t mean I would want to legally treat a 40 year old having sex with a 16 year old the same as I would that 40 year old having sex with an 11 year old, regardless of whether the 11 year old believed they were consenting. It’s the difference between a cretin who should be shunned and a predator who needs to be put away and then monitored as much as the law allows.
Teenagers are sexual beings, but mature adults have no business becoming sexually involved with them. Respecting them means respecting their maturity of development and recognizing that they’re in a vastly different place. I don’t necessarily think that should translate into law, but on general principle, it’s objectionable for a retiree to be shacking up with a high school sophomore.
No. 8 · Casey wrote, “So basically they’re going to legalize pedophilia and allow pedophiles to get rid of their records?”
Aside from your incorrect use of “pedophilia” which others pointed out, previously they made the age of consent the same for gays as for straights. Basically, they decided that if it is OK for a 21 year old woman to have consensual sex with a 16 year old male, it should also be OK for a 21 year old man to have sex with a 16 year old male. Now all they are doing is taking people out of sex-offender registries for doing what they realized should not have been a crime in the first place .
I don’t understand a lot of the debate here. It has always been legal for 16 year old heterosexuals to marry and have children in the UK. The law regarding homosexuals has only recently caught up. This is NOT about legalizing paedophilia.
And 16 year old men are eligible to join the Armed Forces and die for their country. No-one asks the age of their commanding officers.
@kayla: Wow, you know a cliched Shakespeare quote. My experience with the sex offender registry is having a parent who ran a sex offender treatment facility for 15 years and being a student of civil rights law.
@Daez – I didn’t read your response, I’ve read your responses on other articles and they rarely make sense and that one seemed really long.
The term, pedophile has been used in this context so persistently, and for so long, that it widely accepted that those committing crimes against age of consent laws are necessarily pedopliles. Intelectually, we know they are not, but we choose to demonize them with the word-because of our own ick factor. Just like the tv preachers do to all of us. We help them perpetualize their myths about all homosexuals -which they maintain quite effectively.
Age of consent laws are culturally determined. Pedophilia is not. It has a definition which I hope no one here would actually have to look up. The morality and legalities of pedophilia however, ARE culturally determined and like it or not may provide what are seen as legitimate and mutually beneficial roles and relationships in many societies. Even though I spent many years in such societies, and honestly neither approved nor indulged, The fabrics of these cultures appear to take much of it in a traditional stride-accompanied by odes, poetry and genuine affection. As westerners, we give ourselves free license
to judge others by our standards. Regard the entire present and neverending Middle east fiasco. We went in and judged them by our puritan, anglo, “christian” standards. We havent been too sucessful.
I am personally repelled by the thought of having sex with a person without secondary sex characteristics. I am most assuredly not only not repelled by a the sight of a ripped 16 year old athlete, but often very very turned on. And before the hysteria of age reporting, most of you were turned on too. IT’S NORMAL. It might not be legaL here, but your dick doesn’t know that. When its obvious that naked idol in front of you is fully capable of producing offspring, It’s not normal NOT to be turned on. Laws should be respected and children should be protected, but just lets keep in mind what a pedophile really is. ick
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