The Long’n’Short of It: Kate Hunt

So I’ve been keeping an eye on the “Stop the Hate, Free Kate” situation going on down in Florida and I have one thing to say to the rainbow community: if you want equality, then you don’t get special treatment. “Phenomenal, cosmic power! Itty, bitty living space.”

Just a bit of background: Kaitlyn Hunt was 18 years old when she had sexual congress (repeatedly, including at least once in the girls’ restroom at school) with a 14 year old girl. When the girl’s parents found out, they went to the police. Police acquired the evidence via a conversation between the girl and Hunt and Hunt was arrested on charges of “lewd or lascivious battery” towards a minor. The affidavit has all the gory details of what the girls were doing, along with pertinent information, like Hunt’s birthday and when she and the girl began their “relationship.” It has turned into a media circus. The parents of the 14 year old have been painted as mean-spirited bigots, who purposefully waited until Hunt’s 18th birthday to ruin her. It has also been put forward that the victim was 15 and Hunt only 17. Aside from patently being false, it doesn’t matter if the victim was 15 and Hunt 17 when they first had sex. Point is, the victim was under 16, which is the minimum age of consent in Florida.

According to Florida law, sex with a person under the age of 16 is statutory rape, regardless of the sex of the victim or the perpetrator. Gay or straight, that’s a crime, thus gay or straight, punishable under the law. I am tired of hearing gays cry “Discrimination!” or “Homophobia!” every time they do something wrong. People would take them more seriously as they cry equality if they would knock off this perpetual plea for special treatment. You’re either just like everybody else or you’re not. You can’t be both. If it were an 18 year old straight boy having sex (oral/manual/traditional, doesn’t matter) with a 14 year old girl in the girls’ bathroom, the book would not only be thrown at him but he’d be beaten to death with it. It would haunt him for the rest of his life, affecting where he could live, college and career prospects, everything. Why not the same for an 18 year old lesbian girl? Unless someone wants to try to argue that straight sex in a high school bathroom is somehow non-equitable with lesbian sex in a high school bathroom?

Point is, Kate Hunt sexually engaged a girl who was underage and now is crying foul because she was busted. I’m of the opinion that a lot of this would be avoided if the age of consent were 18 across the board without any of these ridiculous loopholes. You can’t vote if you’re 17 instead of 18, can’t sign a contract, take out a loan without a cosigner, buy cigarettes or drink. You also, for most medical issues (except for those relating to sexual activity), have no right to privacy. You’re not considered an adult in the eyes of the law. If you’re not an adult in the eyes of the law for any of those, some of which are fundamental rights in this country, why are you suddenly adult enough to make decisions concerning sex, particularly with someone who is an adult? We have this awful, graduated definition of an adult, where you can’t vote or drink or sign contracts, but you can make intelligent decisions about sex, something even proper adults over the age of 18 have a hard time doing. How exactly does that make sense? I’m not smart enough to cast a ballot, even though I’ve probably discussed this issue in my classroom more than most voters have, but I’m smart enough to gaze through the hormone-induced haze, recognize and accept all of the consequences sexual activity will have? Huh?

The Hunt family has been trying to make it seem like the girls’ ages were closer, that Kate Hunt was not a legal adult when she began having sex with a child and that the age difference between them was only about 2 years instead of 4. While Florida law states that no one under the age of 16 can consent to sexual activity, what the family is doing is attempting to invoke a sort of close-in-age exemption, which is the product of age-of-consent legislation, which is by and large influenced by our society’s strange definition of adulthood. Perhaps if this were all a little clearer, there would be clear lines in the sand and clear consequences for those who dare to cross them.

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