Opinion: Columnists

Gregory Kane: ACLU should butt out of Florida case

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Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists,Florida,ACLU

Do we really need the American Civil Liberties Union input in the Kaitlyn Hunt case down in Florida?

We clearly do not, but that didn't stop the Florida chapter of the ACLU from putting in its two cents' worth anyway.

Hunt is 18 years old and faces felony charges of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child ages 12 to 14.

The other child in question is a 14-year-old girl. Hunt and the girl had a sexual relationship earlier in the school year.

If Hunt were an 18-year-old guy, this wouldn't be a news story. But because there's now the issue of sexual orientation, some people feel the rules should be changed.

Hunt's father started an online campaign to have the charges reduced or dropped. According to some news reports, more than 100,000 people have signed an online petition in support of Hunt.

Compare this to the case of Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, two 18-year-old Connecticut high school football players charged earlier this year with statutory rape for allegedly having sex with two 13-year-old girls. Do you think there's an online petition urging that charges against them be dropped or reduced?

You know there isn't. What's happening in the Hunt case is that people are flagrantly asking not for equal treatment of gays and lesbians, but special treatment for gays and lesbians.

You would think the ACLU -- supposedly dedicated to seeing that the civil liberties of Americans aren't violated -- would steer clear of getting involved in demanding special treatment for anyone.

But the Florida chapter dove in headfirst, condemning Hunt's prosecution and calling the sexual relationship she had with a 14-year-old girl "fairly innocuous and extremely common."

I have no idea how "common" it is for 14-year-old girls to have sexual relationships, with either males of females. And I suspect those bleeding hearts that make up the Florida chapter of the ACLU don't have a clue either. But I do know that in most, if not all, states, 14 is well below the age of consent for either a boy or a girl to have sex -- with anyone.

Hunt, at 18, is considered an adult under Florida law. She faces the same charges she would have faced if she were a guy.

There is not one violation of Hunt's civil liberties involved in this matter. So what is the ACLU suggesting with its comment about "fairly innocuous, extremely common" behavior?

Is the ACLU suggesting, in all seriousness, the age of consent be lowered? Or that age-of-consent laws be abolished altogether?

That's what it sounds like. So where does that put the ALCU? Why, in the same camp as those guys in the North American Man-Boy Love Association.

Yes, the NAMBLA bunch has, for years, advocated the lowering of the age of consent, or abolishing completely age-of-consent laws. Why would anyone in the ACLU want to find themselves or their (once) esteemed organization essentially taking on the NAMBLA position vis-a-vis age of consent?

I suspect that the Florida ACLU just saw another opportunity to go on one of its "school-to-prison-pipeline" rants.

Yes, the ACLU and other liberal organizations have been on the kick lately of condemning what they call the "school-to-prison pipeline." Harsh discipline in schools, they whine, leads many of those being disciplined to prison.

In Hunt's case, the Florida ACLU issued a statement that read, in part, "application of this law to Kaitlyn's conduct is another example of a troubling trend in Florida and across the country of criminalizing teenagers."

No teens commit crime, you see, at least according to the ACLU. Instead they're "criminalized."

As might be expected, the statement also read "the school-to-prison pipeline is filled with students whose behavior is better addressed by school officials and parents, not by a criminal justice system that turned ordinary teenagers into unjust conviction."

If Hunt is indeed guilty of having sex with the 14-year-old, then she is guilty as charged under Florida law. How is that an "unjust conviction"?

Washington Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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