Kaitlyn Hunt is a criminal. We can state that as a Neutral Objective Fact, now that the 19-year-old former cheerleader has pleaded “no contest” to multiple felonies related to her sexual affair with a minor. What remains is the question of what her plea in a Florida courtroom Thursday means for what Rush Limbaugh has called the movement to “normalize pedophilia."
Limbaugh’s commentary in January was controversial, inspiring mockery from liberals, but the nation’s most popular radio personality was certainly not the first or only one to notice that the successes of the gay-rights movement had given new impetus to activists who want to legalize sex with minors. What inspired Limbaugh’s January monologue was an item by Wesley J. Smith at National Review that took note of an article in the British Guardian newspaper reporting “a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality.” In other words, according to some scientists, child molesters are “born that way,” and one may anticipate the arguments which could result from such a “scientific” finding.
This is hardly the first or only such manifestation of what we might call the “jailbait rights” movement. More than a decade ago, I reported that some academics were justifying sex with minors. One of those academics -- Theo Sandfort, a former editor of the notorious Dutch pedophile journal Paidika, author of the 2001 book Childhood Sexuality and co-editor of the 1990 book Male Intergenerational Intimacy -- is now on the faculty of Columbia University. Two years ago, Matt Barber reported on a conference in Maryland where it was claimed pedophiles are “unfairly stigmatized and demonized” by society.
As I remarked when the Kaitlyn Hunt case made national headlines in May, some of her supporters seemed to see this photogenic sex offender as the “poster girl” their movement needed:
Prosecutors in the case are apparently determined to resist the politically correct demands of the ACLU, MSNBC and other liberals who don’t care about the precedent that might be set by nullifying Florida’s age of consent laws. What is remarkable — and alarming to many parents — is that liberals appear to be unashamed to argue for legalizing sex with 14-year-olds. Such arguments are a logical result of the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling that cited an “emerging awareness” doctrine as the basis for overturning state sodomy laws. Who knows in which direction this awareness might further emerge?
This danger has, for now, been averted. The terms of the plea agreement Hunt accepted Thursday will keep her in jail until Dec. 20 and then release her to house arrest under very strict terms. Yet her supporters -- including her parents and her attorney -- continue to argue that Hunt has been wrongly prosecuted, and vow to push for changes in Florida law that would make 14-year-olds “fair game” for legal sex. And there are some in the media who seem indifferent to the potential danger.
Today, ABC’s Good Morning America aired a segment on the Hunt case, a preview of a 20/20 segment to be broadcast tonight. ABC reporter Matt Gutman made no acknowledgment of the connection between this case and the movement to normalize pedophilia. This inspired me to ask, “Do journalists have an obligation to call evil by its right name?” I think the answer is yes, and advocates of legalizing sex with children are evil -- that is a Neutral Objective Fact.