Kansas’ statutory rape law prohibits “criminal sodomy” (including oral sex) with teenagers younger than 16. If the object of Matthew’s affection had been female, however, Kansas would have afforded him the benefit of its romantically named “Romeo and Juliet” statute, designed precisely for kids like him, kids who have consensual sex with other kids. In Kansas, and in many other states, when two teenagers have heterosexual sex, even the dreaded sodomy, the penalties are relatively mild. If Matthew had had consensual sex with a girl, and the state had prosecuted him at all, the longest sentence they could have given him was 15 months. Instead, because Matthew had sex with another boy, and only because he had sex with another boy, he has spent the past five years in Ellsworth Correctional Facility in central Kansas.
I wonder if the folks who oppose same-sex marriage would say that this “Romeo and Juliet” law isn’t discrimination? After all, gays and straight teens alike are given the much, much harsher punishment if they have sex with their underage same-sex lover. According to the same logic same-sex marriage opponents are so fond of – the logic that says that gays and lesbians have an equal right to marry someone of the opposite sex – this law must not be discriminatory.