Last month, a public hearing was held before the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence on HB 3564, also known as the Romeo and Juliet Fair Defense Act. “Heavy petting” is currently considered a crime for minors under Texas law and is classified as “indecency with a child.” While there is a defense for age-appropriate dating by straight youth, this defense is not available to gay or lesbian youth who are dating.
The bill, filed by Representative Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), would make the defense of age-appropriate dating available to all couples, including same-sex couples.
“If you‘re a gay kid that dates, the law may force you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. Even the possibility that gays and lesbians might be arrested as sex offenders will keep some kids from seeking appropriate medical exams and treatment. This bill merely treats all kids equally,” Rep. Coleman stated on his website. – by Nancy Ford