Since the s, a number of movements have taken place in the United Kingdom in favour of reforming or abolishing the age of consent , in support of children's rights , gay liberationism or, more recently, "as a means to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections via education and health promotion". In , the first age of consent was set in England , at age 12 Statute of Westminster I. In , the Parliament of Northern Ireland passed the Children and Young Persons Act , which successfully raised the age of consent to Currently, the age of consent for penetrative sex , oral sex and mutual masturbation in the United Kingdom is 16 years. If any individual has sex with someone under this age, then he or she may be charged with a criminal offence and may receive a year prison sentence or if they are under 18 a 5-year prison sentence.
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Home Office ministers are considering their next move in the Government's bid to lower the gay age of consent to 16 - after a crushing defeat, for the second time, by the House of Lords. Voting was to , majority 76, blocking a second reading for the measure which had cleared the Commons with the overwhelming support of MPs. Despite an impassioned appeal by the Home Office minister Lord Williams, who urged peers to put equality above the criminal law, opponents of reform led by the former Tory leader of the Lords, Baroness Young, moved to throw out the legislation. Their opposition, during the second reading debate on the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill, came despite government pledges to reintroduce and push through the legislation during their next parliamentary session if it was rejected by the Lords. Gay groups have also maintained pressure for change, and were last night holding a vigil outside the Palace of Westminster as the Lords debate continued late into the evening.
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The age at which a person is deemed legally competent to consent to sexual activity varies widely around the world - and even within Europe. Most countries prohibit sex with unders or unders, but in some places the age of consent is as low as 11, or as high as However, even within counties this can vary widely between males and females and in cases of heterosexual and homosexual sex. In the UK, the age of consent stands at 16, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Young gay adults, on the other hand, are not protected under this law. California law prohibits anyone over the age of 18 to have sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of A provision law states that in cases where a sexual partner is over the age of 15 and their partner is within 10 years of their age, the partner over the age of 18 will not automatically be placed on the registry. Depending on the circumstances, a California judge can manually list Romeo as a sex offender on the registry.