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The Romeo and Juliet laws are frequently enforced unfairly says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the University of Oklahoma-based National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth."In many cases, they are enforced largely by how angry the parents of the younger party are." One well-publicized case demonstrating the need for Romeo and Juliet legislation is that of Genarlow Wilson, a 17-year-old who was imprisoned for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old female.(Even Romeo would be labeled a sex offender today, as he was believed to be 16 and Juliet 13 when their relationship began.) Though the age of consent (i.e.the age at which an individual can legally agree to have sex) varies from state to state—and often splits along gender lines—it is definitive in one aspect: it refers to sexual acts between heterosexuals.Generally speaking, every state’s statutory rape law applies to same-sex situations.The exceptions, unfortunately for you, provide for harsher treatment of adults who have sex with younger people of the same gender.Even worse, they may carry the stigma of being labeled a sex offender for the rest of their life.

He was then legally compelled to register as a sex offender.When Shakespeare brought Romeo and Juliet to life, he was intentional in choosing two young characters as his protagonists.Then as now, two teenagers having consensual sex is perfectly understandable.Florida’s new law still regards underage sex as a crime, but a judge may now determine whether to strike the sex offender designation from those previously convicted.Cases that may lead to an overturned designation would involve a victim who is age 14–17 and has agreed to consensual sex; the offender would have to be no more than four years older than the victim and have no other sex crimes on their record.

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