A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has launched an interesting fight in Nevada. The Huffington Post reports that ACLU ‘announced plans this week to fight a discriminatory Nevada statute that bans consensual sex between gay teens, but not straight teens.
The Nevada chapter of the ACLU, as well as the National ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and AIDS Project, officially challenged the law in federal suit filed Tuesday, according to Courthouse News Service.
The state’s so-called “infamous crime against nature” statute essentially creates a double standard based solely on sexual orientation, argued the ACLU in a press release. Though the age of sexual consent in Nevada is 16, the statute forbids sex between gay teens who are above the age of consent but under 18.’
It’s clearly discriminatory and the language of the legislation is plainly odd, but what makes this particularly interesting for me is the willingness of a civil liberties charity to go where so many LGBT groups daren’t, namely the subject of teen sex.
Yes, here we’re talking about sex for those above the age of consent – 16, and 17 year olds – but even so, the historic fear of being associated with paedophilia (just an ‘interest’ in teen sex is enough for some critics) means that LGBT campaigners rarely engage with this issue.