A newly amended bill from a California lawmaker would require college students to stop in the heat of passion and establish verbal or written consent before having sex anywhere on campus, reports L.A. Weekly.
SB 967, amended last week by state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), would mandate that college students obtain “an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a list of 55 schools that face federal probes into their handling of sexual assault cases. De Leon said his bill is meant to confront sexual assault problems head-on.
“Obviously, there is a problem,” he said in the report. “SB 967 will change the equation so the system is not stacked against survivors by establishing an affirmative consent policy to make it clear that only ‘yes’ means ‘yes.'”
According to the language of the bill, “consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter, and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”
Despite the bill’s noble intentions, not everyone is sold on the proposed legislation.
In an article for LegalInsurrection.com, attorney Hans Bader argues the language of the proposed law could make ordinary people out to be sexual criminals.
“Since most people have engaged in sex without verbal consent, supporters of the bill are effectively redefining most people, and most happily-married couples, as rapists,” he said.
Bader goes even further, saying the law could violate individual privacy rights:
Requiring people to have verbal discussion before sex violates their privacy rights, under the logic of Supreme Court decisions such as Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down Texas’ sodomy law, and federal appeals court decisions like Wilson v. Taylor (1984), which ruled that dating relationships are protected against unwarranted meddling by the Constitutional freedom of intimate association.
The proposed law would require all college campuses to adopt a uniform policy “concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.” Schools that fail to adhere to the policy would not be eligible to receive state funds for student financial assistance.
The bill passed the state Senate on May 29 by a vote of 27-9. It heads to the Assembly next for further consideration.