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California’s Legislature Passes Bill To Treat LGBT+ And Straight Sex Offenders The Same

California’s legislature just passed two different bills affecting the LGBT+ community, including one that makes the punishment for certain sex crimes the same for queer and straight offenders that resulted in an out state senator getting death threats. The other increases protections for people living with HIV.

According to ‘LGBTQ Nation’, the first bill was introduced gay California Sen. Scott Wiener (D) gives judges leeway to keep LGBT+ teenagers off the state’s public sex offender registry if the teens are of similar ages, the same leeway the state already gives straight teens. Currently, it’s illegal in California for people above the age of 18 to have sex with anyone under the age of 18. Wiener’s bill doesn’t change that.

After introducing his legislation, Wiener had received death threats by people and the media claiming that he was trying to legalise pedophilia. He was inundated with comments on social media that called him a “pedophile,” falsely said that his bill would legalise sex with 10-year-olds, and attacked his Jewish heritage, claiming that “Jews are at the forefront of promoting pro-homosexual and pro-pe‌dophile prop‌aganda.”

“There is so much misinformation about SB 145 — similar to misinformation about COVID, vaccines, masks, and the like — and it’s hard to track where it starts,” Wiener wrote in a Facebook post. “Those who think homophobia and antisemitism are over are not paying attention.”

The second bill, sponsored by California Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D), would make it easier for people living with HIV to get life and disability income insurance.

“I am very grateful for the support of my Senate and Assembly colleagues on this critical legislation,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “This is a huge step to ensure that Californians living with HIV and their families have equal access to life and disability income insurance coverage.”

The bill, entitled the Equal Insurance HIV Act, says that the life expectancy for HIV-positive people has nearly doubled since 1996. As a result, the bill requires that insurance for HIV-positive people be treated similarly to insurance for HIV-negative people.

It also requires insurance companies to get informed consent before testing for HIV and creates rules to keep the testing results confidential.

“This legislation is a critical step toward eliminating stigma against people living with HIV and finally ending the epidemic,” wrote Equality California, a state LGBT+ rights organisation that supported Gonzalez’s bill.

Both bills have passed the California Assembly and Senate, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign them both.

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