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SACRAMENTO, California, September 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law controversial legislation that would empower judges to forgo adding those who engage in homosexual sex with certain minors to the state sex offender registry, demanding that lawmakers strengthen existing laws instead of weakening them.

State law forbids performing sex acts with a minor, but oral and anal intercourse requires that the older partner register as a sex offender, wheras in the case of vaginal intercourse judges have the discretion to choose whether to require registration. Senate Bill 145, introduced by Democrat state Sen. Scott Wiener, extends that judicial discretion to all three acts, so long as the victim is at least 14 and the offender “is not more than 10 years older than the minor.”

Lawmakers gave their final approval to the legislation last week. Newsom signed it into law late Friday without comment, the Associated Press reported.

Celebrating the move, Wiener claimed that the state has taken “yet another step toward an equitable society” by “treating LGBTQ young people the exact same way that straight young people have been treated since 1944.”

But opponents such as the American College of Pediatricians argue that the bill will empower pedophiles should it become law.

“The existing laws in question were placed into the California Statutes to prevent the abuse of minors, whose intellectual immaturity makes them vulnerable,” the group said. “These proposed modifications put more children at increased risk of abuse. It strains the bounds of common sense that any legislator (some of whom must be parents) would allow such proposals to pass out of Committee much less to pass them into law.”

Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was among those who condemned Newsom for signing the measure:

Newsom’s decision to soften penalties against sex offenders came as the governor continues to penalize religious assembly in the name of containing COVID-19.

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