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The Dixon case is just one in a long line of similar legal battles teens have faced in the last decade.

Whether you agree with this outcome or not, the fact remains that statutory rape is considered a serious crime, enforceable to the full extent of the law in many states – and can change the course of a teenager’s life forever.

The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States: Exceptions and Other Considerations In addition to Romeo and Juliet laws, some states have specific exemptions when both parties to the sexual act are minors, or the person to be charged is legally married to the minor.

However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors.

Take, for example, the widely publicized case of Marcus Dwayne Dixon, an 18-year-old high school honor student and star football player who had sex with a 15-year-old female classmate.

She claimed it was rape, he claimed it was consensual, and a jury acquitted him of the charges.

I guess that’s why I told my wife I loved her on our second date. But it wasn’t that she wasn’t giving me love, it just seemed to come at different times. I don’t think I noticed this consciously for a while. And after each time, there would be this look she would give me. It wasn’t something I could force, just something that would come about as a result of my giving. And how much I’m sure those messages are bouncing around in other people’s heads as well. Living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives.

I had tried really hard up to that point to hold it back, honestly. I think part of me recognized that she was much smarter and more modest than me. This fire was burning in me, a fire that burned just like that second date: I was in love. Marriage, quicker than I was ready for, did this thing: it started sucking away that emotion. In other words, it was in the practicality that I found the love I was looking for. That fire I felt, it was simply that: emotional fire. I think that might be a big part of the reason the divorce rate is so high in this country. It’s time that we changed the conversation about love. Because until we do, adultery will continue to be common.

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Like most Hasidic Jews (we both became religious later in life), our dating period lasted a very short time. I mean, how you can feel that burning love when you’re sitting at the table discussing how to use the last twenty dollars in your bank account? How can you feel it when you think it makes perfect sense to put your socks on the floor after you’re done with them, and she has this crazy idea that they need to go in the laundry basket? And now, as I’m a bit older and a bit more experienced with this relationship, I’ve finally come to realize something.

However, because of their age difference, the jury still found Dixon guilty of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, and sentenced him to a mandatory 10 years in prison under Georgia law.

In May 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned Dixon’s conviction, stating that he should’ve been prosecuted on the lesser charge of misdemeanor statutory rape, which carries a maximum sentence of one year.

Why wasn’t I getting reciprocal lovey-doveyness when we were first married? From Disney movies to my favorite shows like “The Office” to practically every pop song released, love is constantly sold as an emotion we have before we’re married.

And that’s why my wife just gave me that half-smile. And now that I’ve tried to change the way I look at love, the more I become shocked at the messages of love I had gotten when I was younger.

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