This is one of those stories that have you asking yourself if you’re still on planet Earth. Emily Bazelone of Slate, a Washington Post affiliated site, wrote today that the case of Florida 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt’s sexual affair with a 14-year-old girl “is about gay rights. But it’s not about that.” This isn’t Bazelon’s first foray into trying to defend the indefensible. In the aftermath of the Boston Terrorist Attack, Bazelon had a rather extraneous piece about how Dzhokar Tsarnaev was a normal guy in his high school years.
So far, the “free Kate” campaign has animated the far-left of America. T-shirts, Facebook groups, and Twitter hashtags have all voiced their support for the alleged sex offender, with much of the push tied up in the narrative of victomology. Hunt is being prosecuted, they claim, only because she's a lesbian. Bazleon agrees, but to her credit, writes that perhaps this is more about a law that lacks clarity regarding teen sex:
I’m struck, though, by the stark contrast between the support for Kaitlyn Hunt and the denunciation of various 17- and 18-year-old boys who have been charged with sex crimes because of their relationships, or encounters, with 15- or 14-year-old girls.
Compare Hunt to Genarlow Wilson, convicted at 17 of child molestation for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a New Year’s party. Or consider the case of Marcus Dwayne Dixon, prosecuted when he was an 18-year-old high school football star for raping a 15-year-old girl who said he’d forced her to lose her virginity. The jury found Dixon not guilty of rape, but convicted him of statutory rape: The girl was underage, and she and Dixon had sex. Both Wilson and Dixon got mandatory 10-year sentences, and each served two years before the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the punishment as “grossly disproportionate” to the crime.
Does it matter that Wilson and Dixon are black? That the girl in Dixon’s case was white? That after their convictions, the Georgia legislature made consensual sex between teenagers a misdemeanor? My point is that it’s so hard to know which older teenagers are predatory and which are in love, or at least fond of each other, with younger teenagers who love or like them back.
That’s fine, but what does race have to do with the Hunt case? That is, of course, unless you're wedded to a leftist victim narrative which insists on seeing political oppression under every rock. While Hunt's relationship with her girlfriend was consensual, there's a wide gulf in maturity between an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old, and Florida law reflects that, seeking to protect minors by punishing those over 18 who seek sexual relationships with them.
For good measure, Bazelone noted how her colleague Will “forgive Anthony Weiner for his wife's sake" Saletan wrote about how consent laws are all over the place across the country, as if that's a valid excuse. Bazelon’s concluding paragraph reads:
I don’t have an easy answer to all the confusion. I can see why a 14-year-old’s parents would be wary of her 18-year-old boyfriend. But if the law treats that boy as a criminal, then why not the 18-year-old girlfriend? Maybe the better answer is that parental wariness just shouldn’t translate into criminal charges in a case involving two high school students and a three or four-year age gap. Kaitlyn Hunt’s plight is about gay rights. But it’s not only about that.
Well, is it gay rights or statutory rape laws, Emily? You say that her “plight is about gay rights,” but evidence to support that assumption is lacking. On the books, Kaitlyn Hunt raped a girl. While we can have a legitimate debate about the proper punishment to fit the crime, it doesn’t negate that fact that Hunt violated the law, and should be reprimanded. That’s basic fairness.
Bazelone's piece should be eye-opening revelation about how some liberal journalists are willing to toss aside commonsense laws to protect minors from sexual predation when those laws gets turned upon a violator who happens to be a lesbian. It's the subversion of equal justice under law for the political whims of the Left, and that should trouble Americans of any political persuasion, especially those who happen to be parents.