Friday, July 21, 2017

Florida Supreme Court Ruling Defines ‘Sexual Intercourse’

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News-Service-Florida-Logo-68x25In a case stemming from a law that requires HIV-infected people to inform potential sexual partners about the disease, the Florida Supreme Court this week said a legal definition of “sexual intercourse” goes beyond relations between men and women.

Justices unanimously turned down arguments by Gary Debaun, who was accused in 2011 of failing to disclose that he was HIV-positive to another man before they had oral and anal intercourse.

Debaun’s attorney persuaded a Monroe County circuit judge to dismiss the charge, arguing that state law and courts defined sexual intercourse as being between men and women — not between men who have oral or anal sex.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned that ruling but asked the Supreme Court to resolve the question.

The Supreme Court, in a 16-page ruling Thursday, said the definition of intercourse is “not limited to only penile-vaginal intercourse” and that the broader definition carries out the law’s goal of trying to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“When the plain meaning of the term ‘sexual intercourse’ — which includes oral and anal intercourse between two men — is applied to (the section of law), the statute acts to prohibit HIV-positive individuals from engaging in the sexual acts that are most likely to transmit the infection to a sexual partner without informing the partner of the presence of the infection and obtaining the partner’s consent to the intercourse despite the presence of the infection,” said the opinion, written by Justice Charles Canady.

“This is a reasonable result, which gives full effect to the Legislature’s intent to reduce the incidence of HIV.”


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“Legislators vote on CS/HB 5103 (School Readiness Programs) in the chamber of the House of Representatives on the fourth floor of the Capitol during Guardian ad Litem Day on February 9, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.
By: Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program
/ CC by 2.0


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