Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Senator Mark Foley Scandal

My irritation has been mounting over the Mark Foley scandal in which the senator has resigned amid reports that he had sent sexually explicit internet messages to male pages. I put this photo here to give the senator a face:

Now, in no way do I condon sexual approaches to under-age people. However, in much of the media coverage (and I am sure in the wider community) I sense a disguised attack on the gay community. Let me explain.

In item after item, news services condemn Foley for emailing 'children as young as 16'! And by the way, there is no reporting that he actually met up with anyone he messaged.

What I find annoying and suspicious is that 16 year olds are characterised as children. This false definition seems to emotively and dishonestly to draw in pedaphilia to unreasonably damn the senator. As some Democrats are saying, this characterisation would not be used if the pages were 16 year old girls.

In all states of the US but two, people may legally marry at 16 with parental consent (otherwise, without parental consent it is 18). In New Hampshire, 'A female between the age of 13 and 17 years and a male between the age of 14 and 17 years can be married only with the permission of their parent (guardian) and a waiver' (Ibid). In a number of states and with circuit or probate court permission, the age is 15.

At 14, I was sexually active, and this seems in accord with the spirit of these laws of marriage. I am not buying into the debate about the age of concent here.

Now, to characterise potentially married people as children seems absurd! Is the US really saying that it is ok/legal for 'children' to marry and have sex!

As I was saying at the outset, this is to not defend approaches to the under-aged. Or buy into the age of consent debate. What I am saying that there is something disingenuous about the way the participants in this event are being defined - and this has the odor of discrimination. The issue should be addressed but honestly and without an unspoken agenda.

No comments:

Post a Comment