I described the sex-ed license quite quickly: minors above a certain age (e.g., above 14, 15, or 16?) wishing to have consensual sexual relations with other minors above that age or with adults should have to take a sex-ed course whose completion gives them a license to have sexual relations and possession of the license would, in conjunction with other conditions, work as an affirmative defense against prosecutions for statutory rape. This sex-ed license would cover information about safe sex, the risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and genetic defects arising from consanguineous relations.
Fortunately, there are superior legal minds on our side of the issue. Fr. Robert Araujo, SJ offers an eloquent rebuttal of this absolutely mind-boggling suggestion:
I have read and reread Professor Markel’s interesting but flawed proposal. After many readings, I just wondered if he thought that young persons are the equal of a person of his years in every regard? If so, this is a flawed assumption. This flaw is exemplified in his subsequent remark that he is “not opposed to say, gay triplets having sex (or marrying) each other, provided certain conditions are satisfied.” I wonder what “conditions” he had in mind since he does not elaborate on what they are or might be? For the time being, I shall put aside the specifics about these triplets as to whether they are identical, fraternal of the same sex, or fraternal of both sexes.
It appears that a primary motivation for his sex-education licensing proposal is to “provide a safe harbor from prosecution for relations with minors.” Well, I am sure that would be a relief to many, including members of our Church, who have been accused and convicted of child molestation. When all is said and done, does the conferral of a license by the State mean that a person of tender years is truly capable of doing something with dramatic and often drastic consequences that result from sexual relations? I realize that Professor Markel puts some limitation on his proposal, but he nevertheless suggests that we might start with children as young as 14 years old who are to receive sex education licenses. Children of this age, and older, may consent to mowing the lawn at one moment but may well rebel at the thought in the next. So what does this say about their ability to consent to sexual relations—be they with other “minors” or with adults, as Professor Markel opines?
Of course, I think the clincher is Fr. Araujo’s last paragraph:
Finally, let me offer a thought on his critique of parental notification or vetoes. His position is that there should not be any requirement for parental consent in a sex education licensing scheme as he has presented it. But with the implementation of his proposal, he drives one more stake into the heart of the basic unit of society—the family. When we remove children from the supervision and control of parents that is properly theirs, where will young people turn when they finally realize they have encountered problems to which they have no answers or solutions? That they may carry a sex education license in their wallet affords little comfort and no protection.
My thoughts are we opened the door for this proposal when we allowed public institutions like schools to become the primary purveyors of sex education. This education belongs in the home. I am not sure how we close the door. I think it begins with parents being ever vigilant about ceding parental control to the state, school, or even the local parish. God gave these children to you. They are your responsibility. Delegate duties as you see fit to the state, school, and parish. But never abdicate your parental role.