Last modified on July 11, 2019, at 12:02

Age of consent

Age of consent is a term referring to the age at which a person becomes competent to consent to sexual acts with an adult. In the vast majority of jurisdictions this is set at 14-18, but ages as low as 13 and as high as 20 also exist. There are also sometimes exemptions from this law allowing children below the age of consent to have to sex with other people below a certain age, but not above that age, known informally as "Romeo and Juliet" laws. In the United States, marriage usually exempts a couple from the age of consent laws; however, said marriage requires the full consent of the parents of the man and woman in situations where they are under the age of 18, in order to sign a legal contract. In Muslim countries, it is common to require marriage, oftentimes with the bride having no consent in the matter, and as young as 12.


England's statutory rape laws, first enacted in 1275, originally protected females under the age of 12. In 1576, during the reign of Elizabeth I, the protected class was reduced to females under the age of ten. In the United States, many states had ages of consent as low as 10 or 12 until the late 19th century. The statutory rape victim's being unchaste, promiscuous, or not a virgin was codified as a defense in every state, since the goal of the law was to protect premarital chastity. These laws were raised to at least 14 in most states by 1920, and made sex neutral later. U.S. Federal law currently criminalizes prostitution of people under 18 and pornography involving minors. 18 U.S. Code § 2243 criminalizes sexual acts with persons under the age of 16 who are at least four years younger than the defendant if the acts involve transaction between state lines.[1] 18 U.S. Code § 2241 criminalizes sexual acts, or crossing a state line with the intent to commit sexual acts, with a person under the age of 12 as "aggravated sexual abuse" without regard to the age of the defendant.[2] In the United States in the early twentieth century, the age of consent was generally 10-12. But it had been raised to at least 14 in almost every state by 1930.[3]

Age of consent in law

In law the age of consent is the age at which a person is deemed to be competent to give consent to an activity, such as sexual intercourse or medical treatment, which would be otherwise be unlawful without informed consent.

The age of consent is one of several legal principles that govern the rights and responsibilities of minors in common law systems, such as:

  • The age of license is the minimum age that a person must obtain to be permitted to undertake an activity, such as driving a motor vehicle on public roads.
  • The age of criminal responsibility is the age at which a person is deemed to be fully responsible for their criminal actions.
  • The age of majority is the age at which a person is deemed to have the rights and responsibilities of an adult and the age at which parental rights and responsibilities cease.

American States/Territories and their Corresponding Age of Consent

The most common age of sexual consent in the United States is 16. But some states have an age as high as 18. Some states allow exceptions for minors to have sex with each other, but not with adults, others have exceptions that allow a minor to consent to sex with an adult if they are married to each other legally, but not if they are fornicating.


In Europe many countries have an age of sexual consent of 14 or 15.

Activities by leftists and homosexual interest groups to lower the age of sexual consent

Steve Baldwin notes, "Homosexual leaders repeatedly argue for the freedom to engage in consensual sex with children, and blind surveys reveal a shockingly high number of homosexuals admit to sexual contact with minors."[4] According to political scientist Harris Mirkin, "Though pedophile organizations were originally a part of the gay/lesbian coalition, gay organizations distance themselves from pedophile organizations in the same way as feminist leaders sought to separate themselves from lesbians."[5] As part of this distancing, some gay rights groups have encouraged the terminology "male-male molestation" be used in place of "homosexual molestation".[6]

However, there have occasionally been signs of a backlash within the movement against crackdowns on pedophilia activists. In 1996, after the North American Man Boy Love Association and two similar European groups were expelled from the International Gay and Lesbian Alliance in order to satisfy the United Nations requirements for granting consultative status, intense internal pressure from ILGA's member organizations nonetheless impelled ILGA to drop a three-year-old requirement that its member groups sign a letter stating they do not condone pedophilia. More than half of ILGA's 450 members refused to sign an anti-pedophile pledge.[7]

In 2013, Rush Limbaugh warned, "Don't Pooh-Pooh the Left's Push to Normalize Pedophilia".[8] In 2013, the German Green Party's most prominent politician disavowed his past support for legalizing sex with children.[9] The Greens nonetheless did poorly in the September 2013 election.[10]

See also


  3. "PURITY CONGRESS MEETS; A Great Gathering for Moral Work in the City of Baltimore. AIMS AND OBJECTS OF THE MOVEMENT Determined to Prevent State Regulation of Vice and to Rescue Fallen Men and Fallen Women.", October 15, 1895. 
  4. Baldwin, Steve. Pedophilia and the Homosexual Movement. ensis wiki.
  5. Mirkin, Harris (1999). "The Pattern of Sexual Politics: Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia". Journal of Homosexuality 37 (2): 1–24. doi:10.1300/J082v37n02_01. 
  6. Herek, Gregory. Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation. University of California.
  7. Jenkinson, Michael (16 September 1996). "Back into the bedrooms of the nation". Alberta Report 23 (40): 35. ISSN 0225-0519. 
  8. Limbaugh, Rush (7 January 2013). Don't Pooh-Pooh the Left's Push to Normalize Pedophilia. The Rush Limbaugh Show.
  9. Troianovski, Anton (18 September 2013). Painful Past Plagues German Greens. Wall Street Journal.
  10. Byfield, Link (7 November 2013). The brief, unhappy greening of German pedophilia.