Workers Vanguard No. 1025
31 May 2013
Down With Age of Consent Laws!
Drop the Charges Against Gay Florida Teen!
(Young Spartacus pages)
Kaitlyn Hunt, a high school senior in Sebastian, Florida, faces up to 15 years in jail and lifetime branding as a “sex offender,” for the “crime” of being in a same-sex relationship with a freshman schoolmate. The two were dating when Hunt was 18 and her girlfriend was 14. Her girlfriend’s parents, reportedly outraged that their daughter was “made” a lesbian, conspired with the police to record a conversation between the two youth. The next day, on February 16, Hunt was arrested for “lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age.” Before the state intervened, Hunt had already been kicked off the school basketball team for her relationship. She has since been expelled from school. On May 24, Hunt rejected a plea deal that included a charge of child abuse, two years of house arrest and one year of probation.
Officials predictably deny the obvious: Hunt was targeted because she is in a gay relationship. State Attorney Bruce Colton declared: “You’re talking the difference between a senior in high school and a freshman in high school. That’s what the law is designed to protect.” Actually, the only protection provided is to the moral and religious puritanism pervading American society. As anyone who’s seen a movie, watched a television show or gone to high school knows, teens do have sex.
The sex police, though, want to stop consenting youth from acting on sexual desires, romantic feelings and the impulse to experiment. Even teenagers who have no physical contact but simply engage in “online sex” are subject to prosecution, and meddling parents can use anti-sex laws to break up relationships. The regimentation of youth—including by dictating who they can screw and how they should live—is a central purpose of the institution of the family, a mainstay of the capitalist order and source of women’s oppression.
We in the Spartacus Youth Clubs oppose all laws governing “crimes without victims,” e.g., consensual sex, gambling, drug use. Sexual relations should be guided by effective consent and nothing else. As long as those taking part mutually agree, nobody—least of all the state—has the right to tell them they can’t do it. We also oppose “sex offender” registries, a form of life sentence in themselves. Those on them face systematic discrimination and are set up for state repression and vigilante violence.
In this racist society, reactionary “age of consent” laws provide yet another means to criminalize black youth. In 2005, Genarlow Wilson was sentenced to ten years in prison in Georgia for engaging in consensual oral sex with a younger schoolmate. Following massive public outcry, he was finally released after serving two years. Professional football player Marcus Dixon was thrown into prison in 2003, when he was 18 years old, for having consensual sex with a white girl just shy of 16. The Georgia Supreme Court ordered his release a year later.
Hunt has won a lot of supporters since her arrest. But the Vero Beach chapter of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is not among them. Its president released a statement that grotesquely opined: “The problem is that there is a law, and it appears the law was broken.” The rulers of this bigoted country have always had it in for sexual “deviants.” It was not so long ago that anti-sodomy laws were on the books. In Alabama, sex education teachers are still required by law to instruct students that homosexuality is a crime and “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.”
Hunt did nothing wrong! We demand: Drop the charges now! The Hunt family’s online petition at change.org has garnered nearly 300,000 signatures. Letters of protest can be written directly to State Attorney Bruce Colton and Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman, State Attorney’s Office 19th Judicial Circuit, 411 South 2nd Street, Fort Pierce, Florida 34950. The Hunt family is raising money to defray legal costs at: gofundme.com/2yz5ts.