In a state where attempts to expand gay rights have hit a wall of conservative Republicans, a Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill to provide a new legal protection for sexually active gay teens. Under Senate Bill 1316, gay and lesbian teens who engage in consensual sex with each other can escape prosecution on a felony charge of sexual indecency with a child — as long as they are over age 14 and are within three years of each other in age. Currently, that so-called “Romeo and Juliet” defense is available only to opposite-sex couples. Romeo and Romeo or Juliet and Juliet, the bill is being called.
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