Age of consent online dating
There is no exception for marriage, so an American of any age marrying anyone under 18 in another country, even with the blessings of the parents and with a legitimate marriage license from the local jurisdiction, is breaking this law. The PROTECT Act, § 503, makes it a federal crime to make (or possess or post online, etc.) sexy photos or videos that include a person under 18, even if under the relevant state law any activity depicted is legal and even if the photos or videos are made (or possessed or posted, etc.) by the juvenile(s) depicted in them.
This essentially establishes a federal age of consent of 18 with respect to being photographed in a sexual context.
The law does not apply to a foreign visitor who leaves the United States in order to have a sexual encounter with a juvenile elsewhere. The PROTECT Act, §105(a)(c), modified the law against "sex tourism" and establishes an age of consent of 18 for Americans engaging in any sexual encounter outside the USA.
Thus, even in places where it is legal and socially acceptable for an adult to date an adolescent, an American doing so is subject to prosecution for it by the US government.
Some age of consent laws also prohibit showing pornography to minors.
For details, see the background report, Age Analysis of Recent US Sex Laws. In all three cases, the federal age of consent established is 18. The PROTECT Act, §105(a)(b), establishes an age of consent of 18 for travel into or out of the country or between states for the purpose of a sexual encounter.
It is seldom true to say simply that a certain jurisdiction has an age of consent of x.
The age may be different for different types of activity, it may depend on the age of the other party ( Romeo and Juliet provisions), and there may be other such variables.
Activities so prohibited generally include any sexually motivated contact with the genitals of either person by the other, and may extend to related areas, such as exposure of genitals and lascivious talk.
The minimum ages are called ages of consent because the basis of the laws is that the activity is deemed to require consent and a person below the given age is deemed psychologically incapable of granting such consent.
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Where the state age of consent is lower, this creates the irony that photographing a legal act can now be illegal.