The state legislator in Tennessee has come up with absolutely horrible idea of making every state ID stamped with the words "SEX OFFENDER" in red in three different places. Seriously? While this may sound good on the surface we all know that the reasons that some people end up on these lists are bogus, the laws are too broadly written.
Think back to that young man who was pulled a high school prank of streaking at football game. While we don't know what would have happened to him but before his suicide he was told he would end up on the state registry for sex offenders. Streaking is hardly a crime that constitutes being labeled a sex offender for the rest of your life.
I am all for protecting children from predators. But the truth is this, if these people are so dangerous that they can't be trusted to be around young children without raping them why aren't they in jail where they belong?
The lawmaker, Matthew Hill(R), says the idea came to him from a constituent talking about how many day cares ask for an ID in order to pick up the child. Again, on the surface that sounds good, but let's be realistic here, don't they have a list of adults that are able to pick up the child? If not, isn't that the answer to the problem?
Some of the crimes that can get you listed on a sex registry list is prostitution. Engaging in consensual sex for money is not something that I would personally do, that doesn't mean that you are a "sex offender". Some states go as far as putting people who are convicted of public exposure onto these lists as well. Again, not behavior I would engage in but is that person really a danger to society for the rest of their lives?
There are many instances where the sex is consensual but one person is under the legal age. We are legally allowed to label an 18-year-old who is having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girl friend. While I wouldn't approve of that behavior in my son or daughter I would like to think that they wouldn't have their driver's license stamped in big, bold, red letters for the rest of their lives because of it.
Your ID is used for many things that have nothing to do with being a danger to children. You need to cash a check, get into many businesses around the country, get on an airplane, and hundreds of other things that are have nothing to do with your past sexual history.
The real goal should be to protect children by not allowing these people, who have a proclivity to harm, out of everyday society by strengthening the amount of time they spend in jail. Not putting a scarlet letter on the ID's of some high school kid that decided it would be funny to take his clothes off at a football game.
This bill needs to go the scrap heap where it belongs.