15 dating 19 legal
It just means that it's not automatically illegal." Another area of concern for critics is that it remains illegal for anyone under 18 to participate in anal intercourse - critics say this targets gay male teenagers - even though the law has been struck down as unconstitutional by many provincial courts of appeal.
Violating age of consent laws is known as "statutory rape." In Utah, a minor aged 14 or 15 can legally consent to have sex with a person who is less than 4 years older.
The bill is intended to target sexual predators, but many youth advocates say that by focusing on age, the new law will confuse teens, make their sexual activities more clandestine and expose them to other risks, including abuse, early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
"When you call it the age of consent, that's misleading to kids, who will think it's not permitted, that it's a crime to be sexually active before the age of 16," says Martha Mackinnon, the executive director of Justice for Children and Youth, a Toronto legal aid clinic serving low-income youth.
"A huge concern is that kids won't seek medical help, won't seek counselling, they won't seek birth control.
"They won't go to a drug store and ask for condoms," she says.