State Senator Scott Wiener’s bill, SB 145, seeks to treat straight and LGBTQ people the same under sex offender registry laws. The response has been death threats and doxxing from right-wing conspiracy theorists and others.
This being early September, a number of bills that passed the California legislature are sitting on Governor Newsom’s desk, awaiting his possible approval or veto. As boring a governance matter as this may sound, one particular bill on Newsom’s desk has aroused the lunatic fringe on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram like no proposed California law in recent memory.
The SF Examiner reports that SB 145, a bill that would essentially give judges the same discretion to prosecute homosexual sex acts with minors the same way that heterosexual sex with minors cases are prosecuted, has brought the bill’s author state senator Scott Wiener an onslaught of death threats and personal doxxing. (Background: Under current law, if a straight person within a few years in age of a minor aged 14 or older is prosecuted for consensual sex with that minor, judges have discretion whether or not to put the person on the sex-offender registry. If it's a gay sex act between two teens ages 15 and 18, say, the 18-year-old automatically goes on the registry.)
The claims QAnon adherents are spreading about California's SB-145 are bunk. The bill does not legalize pedophilia. https://t.co/VLR2XCXaXw— FactCheck.org (@factcheckdotorg) September 5, 2020
“I’ve been the subject of death threats and personal attacks, threatening to decapitate me and send my head to my mother,” Wiener said at a press conference last month, per the Chronicle.
“I’m trying to figure out if I should hire someone to read through all the death threats,” his communication director Catie Stewart told SF Weekly. “I try to triage to see how many of these threats are real, how scared I should be.”
In the case of the doxxing of Wiener’s personal information online, the doxxing was allegedly carried out by a bisexual woman. “She also identifies as a pedophile huntress and an arms dealer,” Stewart said. “There are lots of people [attacking Wiener] with ‘arms dealer’ in their bio, so I’ve got to assume that they’re not all arms dealers.”
.@senatormelendez: Please stop misrepresenting this legislation - which is supported by (in fact, written by) law enforcement & supported by rape crisis centers.— Senator Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) September 5, 2020
Just in case you’re interested in what the legislation *actually* does, here’s a fact check: https://t.co/y1TYq7eqfI https://t.co/dxEaaiwqnD
USA Today fact-checked the claim that this is a ‘pro-pedophilia bill’ last week, when the QAnon crowd was first queueing their death threats. The paper noted that currently, “an 18-year-old male convicted of having oral or anal sex with a 17-year-old male would be required to register as a sex offender, while a 24-year-old male convicted of having penile-vaginal sex with a 15-year-old female would not be automatically required to register – it would be left up to the judge.” This bill merely removes the differential prosecution based on sexual orientation.
Conservatives and their QAnon ilk are feverishly pursuing the pedophilia angle, desperate to change the topic from the 1,100 Americans dying every day from coronavirus and Trump’s demonstrable impotence at stemming that death toll. Texas senator Ted Cruz, who three years ago today was jacking it to incest porn on 9/11, weighed in that “CA Dems believe we need more adults having sex with children, and when they do, they shouldn’t register as sex offenders.”
Priorities. Today’s CA Dems believe we need more adults having sex with children, and when they do, they shouldn’t register as sex offenders.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 3, 2020
This is extreme & very harmful to kids. https://t.co/qoSe2q21l3
But the politics are tricky for Newsom, as the bill would leave intact the controversial 10-year age gap for judges to keep 24-year-olds off sex offender registries for sex with 15-year-olds.
"It’s a tough call for the governor,” Gav’s former communication director Nathan Ballard told the Los Angeles Times. "There might be some wisdom in Gov. Newsom rejecting this draft and asking for modifications to eliminate the 10-year age gap."
Newsom has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill.
Image: @Scott_Wiener via Twitter