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Gay Lawmaker Attacked By Rightwing Media Calling Him A “Pedophile” Over Equality Legislation

A gay lawmaker in California has been shockingly accused of endangering children after being targeted by rightwing media as part of what they believe is a "pedophile conspiracy" after he introduced a bill to treat LGBT+ sex offenders the same as straight sex offenders. The lawyers have been receiving thousands” of homophobic and anti-semitic messages.

According to ‘LGBTQ Nation’, in California judges can exercise discretion in statutory rape cases that involve a defendant and a victim of similar ages and keep the defendant off the state’s sex offender registry. But, the law only applies to penetrative vaginal sex, not anal or oral or other sexual contact. This means that judges don’t have the same discretion for cases involving same-sex sexual encounters. California Rep. Scott Wiener (D) introduced legislation that would give judges that discretion, making the law for straight people and LGBT+ people equal.

But rightwing media have been using the bill as an example of part of the QAnon conspiracy, which is the idea that there are people in the “deep state” who are trying to end Donald Trump’s presidency because he is working to defeat an international child sex trafficking ring. The conspiracy was started by an anonymous commenter online who went by “Q” and claimed to be a government official dropping cryptic hints about the conspiracy.

Websites that promote QAnon are presenting a distorted picture of Wiener’s bill, including saying that it would legalize 22-year-olds raping 12-year-olds and that it would protect pedophiles when all it does is give judges discretion over part of the punishment in some statutory rape cases, the same discretion they have in cases involving sex between people of different sexes.

“It’s a noticeable uptick” in hateful comments online, Wiener said. His staff said that he has received “thousands” of  disgusting and abusive messages related to the bill.

“The comments are gross. There’s a ton of them. They’re much, much nastier than what I’ve received before,” he said.

The comments show up on several recent posts on Wiener’s Instagram account. Most are simply the words “Pedo” or “Pedophile,” but others go on longer. For example:

“It’s absolutely outrageous! That means if the sexual predator is 19 And the victim 10 they wouldn’t need to be register as a sex offender ? What kind of crap is that ?!”

“#savethechildren Stop protecting pedophiles!”

“Social media platforms need to do a lot more to deal with toxicity that is so damaging to society,” Wiener said. “I know it’s hard. I get that they don’t want to be thought police. Not everything is clear cut, but some things are. What’s happening here is clear cut, when you have all these comments calling me a pedophile, when you have all these homophobic, anti-semitic remarks.” 

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