Saturday, March 05, 2005

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HB 449 More Texas Legislature Stuff

Steve at the Yellow Doggerel Democrat is talking about Good Hair Perry's inability to expedite a bill today. The author of that bill is Representative Dutton, which of course got me to thinking about another of Rep. Dutton's bills which would be great, if it weren't unconstitutional on its face.

The bill itself allows for a change in the affirmative defense in sexual assault of a minor cases, when the offender is a minor as well, or enrolled in school. It changes the age limit from three years of age difference to five years as long as both are enrolled in school, and the victim is 13 years of age, or older. I have worked with enough of these victims who have told me that they consented and they don't want the offender in trouble, that their parents do; that it is troubling to me to continue to see this happen. In addition, these offenders face a lifetime of sex offender registration, which as I stated in an earlier post is just wrong, for a consensual act between juveniles. So it is a great bill, and most victim advocates don't have a problem with it, because these victims aren't really victims, until the system takes control.

Unfortunately, Representative Dutton felt compelled to included the wording 'of opposite sex' in his bill. This is a direct contradiction to Lawerence v. Texas, which ruled that the State cannot legislate sexual acts between consenting, yes adults. This attempts to do so, by saying that consensual sex between heterosexual minors is acceptable, while consensual sex between homosexual minors is not acceptable and in fact the older juvenile can still be prosecuted as a felon. I hate that a law that could have changed a real miscarriage of justice in Texas is so blatantly biased, bigoted, and yes, unconstitutional. While I am aware that Lawerence does say adults in the decision; I do believe that this law goes completely against the principle set forth in the Lawerence decision.