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GLAA testifies on obscene video games act
GAY AND LESBIAN ACTIVISTS ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
June 15, 2005
Councilmember Jim Graham, Chairperson
Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Please accept this statement as testimony for the record on bill 16-0125, the "Youth Protection from Obscene Video Games Act of 2005" from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C. (GLAA). We are sorry that we could not appear in person for the hearing.
While we find the bill to be unnecessary, potentially unconstitutional, and unenforceable due to the ease of shopping in neighboring states, the bill also creates a conflict with other parts of the D.C. Code.
D.C. Code § 46-403(4) defines the age of consent to be 16 years of age.
Similarly, § 22-3101 (2) prohibits filming or otherwise recording sexual performance using any person under 16 years of age.
However, Section 5 of the bill creates a new paragraph § 47-2850.03(b), which states:
No business in the District of Columbia shall sell, rent, or furnish video games or computer games rated M for Mature under the ESBR ratings to persons under the age of 17.
So it is legal for a 16 year old to marry, consent to have sex, be filmed having sex but, if this bill passes as is, it will be illegal to buy a video game, which depicts the same thing.
Age 17 is used in five other places in the bill referring to restriction on the M and RP (rating pending) ratings.
We strongly recommend that the age for purchasing a video game rated “M,” be changed to 16 throughout the bill.
Thank you for your consideration of this change to the bill.
cc: Committee members Sharon Ambrose, Kwame R. Brown, David A. Catania, and Adrian Fenty