16 18 year old dating texas

For teenagers who are gay or lesbian and engage in consensual sex, the laws are much tougher.A 2004 case heard by the Kansas Supreme Court had civil libertarians and gay rights groups protesting the existence of a double standard.The new laws, named “Romeo and Juliet laws” after Shakespeare’s tragic teenage lovers, attempt to correct overly harsh penalties and prison terms meted out over the years.In 2007, these laws went into effect in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, and Texas.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.

The difference between the two situations would seem obvious.

Even worse, they may carry the stigma of being labeled a sex offender for the rest of their life.

The problem typically arises when the male is 18 or 19, the female is between 14 and 16, and the parent of the younger teen presses charges.

However, the laws have specific age limits that can lead to criminalization of consensual relationships between young adults.

And, every state has its own statutory rape law (often called something else, such as “sexual intercourse with a minor”) and the age limits and other specifics vary from state to state.

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But in many states across America, from a legal standpoint, there’s little distinction between Romeo and Juliet's mutual decision and the abusive actions of a child molester.

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