Jonathan Chait (not a conservative) writes in the New York Magazine on California’s new rape law, observing that there will be manifold unintended consequences. As Jill noted, he doesn’t provide the entire flow chart, but it’s worth reading.
My own observations are these, none of which should stupidly be read as a defense of rape or sexual assault:
1) As other writers have noted (including liberals/progressives), this law completely ignores the normal grammar of human relationships, hence the requirement for a script. That grammar, formed over many, many millennia of social evolution, will be imperturbably resistant to rewriting.
2) If this law apply only to college students, then the California legislature and governor just codified a discriminatory law.
3) The law will be a powerful tool in the hands of over-zealous prosecutors who want to create informants (cf. the recent article in the Economist on the power of prosecutors in the American legal system, and how that power should strongly be curtailed).
But my greatest observation, and one that is subversive enough not to belong on this short list (hence no number) is this: the California law is nothing other than the latest attempt of Western (or better, human) society to deal with the consequences of rejecting a classically Christian view of sexuality, of attempting to construct a ridiculous coop ad hoc after the chickens of the Sexual Revolution (and the millennia of sexual immorality preceding it) are coming home to roost. Chait is correct when he writes that we need to remodel our society’s views on sex, but I suspect he doesn’t want to go where we should go.
I am by no means claiming that all Christians (and Jews) live according to biblical norms for human sexuality (yes, they exist, and I’m happen to go toe-to-toe with you if you think those norms encourage sexual oppression, polygamy, etc). But there is no question that if the moral presumption is sexuality exclusive to, preserved within, and celebrated in all its exclusive lushness within monogamous marriage (and that means not just coitus, but most of the lovemaking that leads up to it); then all manner of sexual deviations, including rape, would be far less common and could more consistently and logically be dealt with.
I’m not talking about “legislating morality” – California’s law is a ludicrous example of that, attempted by a sexually libertine society. It would be laughable were it not so horrible.
I’m not even addressing the California legislature, or Governor Brown, or Mr Chait, or American (or Western) society at large. I’m addressing us, the Church. We need to step up, in faithfulness and witness, by living lives that let the rest of the world know what sex is for in God’s economy.