He also discussed the possibility of raising the age of consent from 16 to 18 but a bill was not produced for that. Prior to 1981 Wisconsin had an exception to the law that allowed adults who were guilty of sex with minors 15 or older to use as a defense that the victim understood the nature of the sexual act, but there was a rebuttable presumption in Wisconsin that minors under the age of 18 were not capable of informed consent to sex, but as stated, this could be argued against by the defendant in the court of law if the minor was 15 years of age or older.In 1981 the age of consent was lowered from 18 to 16 in Wisconsin, but at the same time it was made an automatic felony to have sex with anyone under 16, informed consent for a 15-year-old was no longer a defense an adult defendant could use in court.Some pedophiles have called to abolish the age of consent to allow adults to have sex freely with prepubescent children, arguing they can consent.Groups advocating pedophilia and the abolishment of age of consent laws include NAMBLA in the United States and Vereniging Martijn in the Netherlands.Organized efforts have ranged from academic discussions to political petitions.There have been many initiatives to raise the age of consent.The male homosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom was set at 21 in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, lowered to 18 in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and then finally lowered equally to 16 in England and Wales and Scotland in the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act of 2000.According to sociologist Matthew Waites, in the 1970s, a number of grassroots political actions took place in Britain in favor of lowering the age of consent, which he described as based on claims of children's rights, gay liberation, or as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.
The Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee) lists abolition of age of consent laws among its immediate demands, with the added provision that there be alternate legal methods to protect children from sexual abuse.In September 1974, the Sexual Law Reform Society proposed lowering the age of consent to 14, with the requirement that below the age of 18 the burden of proof that consent for sexual activities between the parties existed would be the responsibility of the older participant.In 1976, the British political advocacy group the National Council for Civil Liberties (now known as Liberty) published a proposal advocating reducing the age of consent laws to 10 years of age, only when both individuals are younger than 14, with a close-in-age exemption of two years if one of the involved individuals is older than 14 but younger than 16.In Alabama in 2012 State Representative Mac Mc Cutcheon sponsored a bill to raise the age of consent from 16 to 18 in the state legislature. Georgia's age of consent was 10 until 1918, and even then the age of consent was only raised to 14.
In 2006, following the infamous case of Genarlow Wilson (Wilson v.
State), aggravated child molestation was reduced to a misdemeanor with a maximum of one year in prison if the offender was under 19, the victim was either 14 or 15 years old, and the offender is no more than 48 months older than the victim. Previously aggravated child molestation (at any age) carried 10–20 years imprisonment regardless of the age difference between the victim and offender.