Woke activists oppose California bill making it a felony to purchase sex from children, claiming it will harm LGBTQ community, people or color

“The harsher penalties contained in this bill will disproportionately impact marginalized communities, particularly black and brown individuals who already bear the brunt of systemic biases within our criminal justice system.


Legislation increasing penalties for people who solicit, agree to engage in, or engage in any act of commercial sex with a minor is being opposed by a group of activists, claiming that it disproportionately harms minorities and the LGBTQ community. The bill has also been watered down from its original punitive measures.  

Activists opposed the legislation that would make a felony to purchase or solicit children for sex, claiming during public testimony on the legislation that “SB 1414 takes an overly punitive approach that fails to address the root causes of these issues and will not effectively stop sexual violence.”  

“We are particularly concerned that the harsher penalties proposed in this bill will disproportionately impact marginalized communities, especially members of the LGBTQ community who already suffer from systematic biases within the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to sexually based offenses,” the activists added. 

The activists who spoke in public testimony claimed that LGBTQ people “are more likely to be charged with sex offenses compared to their heterosexual counterparts,” and that “measures like SB 1414 lead to higher rates of incarceration, longer sentences, and increased difficulties in finding housing and employment.” 

Another activist said that they stand against “any punitive measure that perpetuates systemic injustices” and wanted California to instead invest in “community-based solutions.” One activist added that she was concerned about the bill impacting “black and brown individuals.” 

Senate Bill 1414 passed a vote in the Public Safety Committee last week. State Sen. Shannon Grove originally proposed making it a felony for someone to solicit teenagers 17 and younger, however, the bill was watered down by the committee to exclude those ages 16 and 17. 

The committee later revised the bill to include 16- and 17-year-olds, but with the caveat that prosecutors now must prove that the 16- or 17-year-olds were not only solicited for sex but also are victims of sex trafficking

Grove told KCRA 3 that the change to put 16 and 17-year-olds back in the bill is just political showmanship. "I think Kevin McCarty is looking for a way to put 16- and 17-year-olds back in the bill and say he was successful, but he only damaged them further.” The question still remains as to what form the bill will ultimately pass.  

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