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Who's considered an adult depends on state law and how age is used for political advantage

MiamiHerald / As my daughter prepares for her bat mitzvah next month, I cannot help but fret about the meaning of the ceremony. In Judaism, the bar/bat mitzvah is a religious rite of passage at around age 13 in which one is pronounced an adult in the eyes of God.

Right now, however, I am far more concerned about the eyes of man. Because it seems like adulthood happens at different ages for different kinds of people in this country.

Consider the response to allegations against Judge Roy Moore that The Washington Post reported on last week. As drip after drip after drip of this story comes out, Moore’s defenders at the right-wing website Breitbart have tried to dismiss the allegations as much ado about nothing, because in the eyes of Alabama law these girls were adults. Breitbart’s Aaron Klein explained away three out of the four women’s stories because “the current age of consent in Alabama is 16.” Breitbart’s Joel Pollak adopted a similar position in an MSNBC appearance, telling the host:

“You said yourself at the start of the segment [Moore] is being accused of relationships with teenagers. To me that’s not accurate. In fact, it’s following in a narrative that The Post tried to set up … The 16-year-old and the 18-year-old have no business in that story, because those are women of legal age of consent at the time.”

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