In late May, California State Rep. Susan Eggman (D-5th District) made headlines when she openly criticized her fellow Democrats for opposing a bill aimed at imposing harsher sentences on those caught purchasing minors for sex. The bill, SB1414, proposes making the act of buying or soliciting sex from a minor a felony, punishable by two years in prison and inclusion on the sex offender registry.

Eggman didn’t hold back, expressing her frustration with her party. “I’d like to say, as a progressive, proud member of this body for the last 12 years, I’m done. I’m done with us protecting people who would buy and abuse our children. I’m done,” she declared.

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Fast forward to a recent public hearing on the bill in Sacramento, where several activists voiced their opposition. Critics of the bill argued that it would disproportionately impact marginalized communities, especially members of the LGBTQ community. They claimed these groups already suffer from systemic biases within the criminal justice system, particularly regarding sexually-based offenses.

 

One speaker went as far as to bring up issues of racism, noting that “under California law, defendants could face years or even decades in prison for sexual violence committed against minors.”

Supporters of the bill argue that such objections only serve to distract from the real issue: protecting children from sexual exploitation. Critics of the opposition’s stance suggest that framing the debate around potential biases against certain communities could be seen as an attempt to normalize unacceptable behavior.