Florida teen Kaitlyn Hunt formally accepted a plea deal Thursday where she will serve four months in jail and two years house arrest. Hunt was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery after the parents of her then 14-year old girlfriend pressed charged saying their daughter was too young to consent to a sexual relationship. Hunt who was an 18-year old senior at the time attended the same high school and played on the basketball team with her girlfriend who was then a freshmen. The teen was kicked off the team, expelled and arrested after the relationship was made public.
Although the law in Florida states that a person under the age of 16 cannot consent to a sexual relationship, the overall consensus was that she was unfairly targeted because it was a same-sex relationship. Kaitlin was initially facing up to 15 years in jail and would have to register as a sex offender if convicted of the felony charge. The charges have since been reduced to two counts of misdemeanor battery. However the public outcry is still going strong with a petition of 40,000 signatures urging the Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman to drop the charges. "Sometimes these obscure laws and certainly these problematic laws, essentially allow people to be criminalized for being gay and criminalized for engaging in same-sex relationships and that's all this is really about," says Huffington Post Live's Marc Lamont Hill.
Romantic relationships between high schoolers is a common and most often an innocuous occurrence. To criminalize this relationship is to perpetuate the idea that being LGBT is predatory and double-downs on institutionalized bullying of LGBT students.