AUSTIN (AP) –– Parents of gay teens urged Texas lawmakers to give their children the same legal protections heterosexual children have when it comes to prosecuting sex crimes.
Texas laws governing crimes of indecency with a child cover sexual contact with minors under the age of 17. They include a "Romeo and Juliet" legal defense if the couple is older than 14, in a consensual relationship and within three years of each other.
But the law also says the couple must be of the "opposite sex." Two bills in the Legislature would change the law to also cover homosexual teens.
On Tuesday, parents of gay teens testified in legislative hearings their children should be treated equal under the law. Gay rights advocates call the distinction in the current law unfair and discriminatory.