USA FAIR fully supports age of consent laws.
We support the efforts of parents and educators to discourage sexual activity among juveniles to prevent unwanted pregnancies, to prevent the transmission of STDs, or to reflect a family’s particular values. However, should in spite of these best efforts, sexual activity occur anyway, we favor decriminalization of consensual sex between adolescents with a reasonable so-called “Romeo & Juliet” provision of four years. Many states, but not all, have such provisions in their laws.
We oppose juvenile offenders and young adults (under the age of 21) convicted of statutory age of consent crimes being listed on the sex offender registry. As a society we already recognize that full adult cognitive ability does not occur by 18, which is the argument for the drinking age of 21. Particular societal concern needs to be given to young offenders being afforded a “second chance” and not having to live their lives with the enormous burdens of being on the registry.
We also believe that so-called “sexting”, the taking and sending of erotic imagery by minors of themselves and shared within their social network should of course be discouraged by parents and educators, but nonetheless exempt from prosecution under any child pornography statutes. “Sexting” should not result in any teenager being placed on the sex offender registry.