ACLU Attacks Kansas 'Romeo and Juliet' Law

A 'Romeo and Juliet' law is under attack in Kansas by the ACLU. What's that? It's a law prohibiting consensual sex between teenagers. In Kansas, the penalties are vastly greater for same-sex participants. Matthew Limon, a developmentally disabled teen, is serving a 17 year sentence for an offense that would have resulted in a 15 month term had his partner been a female:

In February of 2000, Limon and another male teenager were both students at the same residential school for developmentally disabled youth in Miami County, Kansas. A week after Limon’s 18th birthday, he performed consensual oral sex on the other teenager, who was nearly 15 years old – three years, one month and a few days younger. Because Kansas’s so-called “Romeo and Juliet” law gives much lighter sentences to heterosexual teenagers who have sex with younger teens but specifically excludes gay teenagers, Limon was sentenced to 17 years in prison. A heterosexual teenager with the same record would serve no longer than 15 months for the same offense.

...Under the Kansas “Romeo and Juliet” law, consensual oral sex between two teens is a lesser crime if the younger teenager is 14 to 16 years old, if the older teenager is under 19, if the age difference is less than four years, if there are no third parties involved, and if the two teenagers “are members of the opposite sex.”

Background on the case is here, which includes this description of the law:

Kansas has a so-called “Romeo and Juliet” law (K.S.A. § 21-3522) that makes the penalty for statutory rape less severe when the case involves two teenagers. The “Romeo and Juliet” law reads: “(a) Unlawful voluntary sexual relations is engaging in voluntary: (1) sexual intercourse; (2) sodomy; or (3) lewd fondling or touching with a child who is 14 years of age but less than 16 years of age and the offender is less than 19 years of age and less than four years of age older than the child and child and the offender are the only parties involved and are members of the opposite sex.”

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