Puzzler for Florida Court: What Is Sexual Intercourse?
Gay sex doesn't count, lawyer in HIV case claims
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2015 2:34 AM CST
The interior view of the Florida Supreme Court chamber in Tallahassee.   (AP Photo/Mark Foley, File)

(Newser) – What does "sexual intercourse" mean in Florida? The state's Supreme Court justices are pondering the question in a case that threatens to weaken a 1986 law requiring HIV-positive people to reveal their infection before having "sexual intercourse." A defense lawyer told the court yesterday that Florida's laws have always used the term to describe traditional sex between a man and a woman, and not any other sexual activity by either gender. The case involves a man charged with a felony after failing to tell his male sex partner he was HIV-positive. The record shows that Gary Debaun's partner asked him to take an HIV test, and that Debaun, who knew that he was infected, gave him fake test results showing he was free of the virus that causes AIDS.

"In the history of Florida law, the specific term 'sexual intercourse' has always been interpreted to mean reproductive sexual conduct," said Debaun's public defender, who's trying to get the charge dropped. "It's not the way that I'd want to define it, maybe—maybe not the way you'd want to define it—but that's the way it's always been in Florida law." Most states legally require people with HIV to disclose the infection to sex partners, but the public defender told the justices that other states' laws use the term "sexual activity" or specifically spell out sexual acts, rather than use Florida's narrow language. Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Geldens argued that it was clear that the statute was enacted with the intent to protect people who engaged in any kind of sexual activity.
 

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
14%
10%
3%
5%
6%
63%