An appellate court has ruled that Florida’s HIV disclosure law can only be used to charge heterosexuals.
The court ruled that the law did not apply in the case of a woman accused of having sex with another woman who failed to disclose her HIV-positive status, reports the St. Petersburg Times. In the ruling, the judges found that because the law referenced “sexual intercourse” that it could only be applied to heterosexual activity since it is only defined as “the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.”
While the conviction of the woman was overturned, the ruling has already had an impact on a case in Treasure Island. There, a state attorney threw out a case against a gay man charged with failing to disclose his HIV-positive status to his partner of four years.
Law enforcement arrested the man on Aug. 3, and he was released Aug. 4 on bond. But the ex-boyfriend says that doesn’t stop the fact the partner had failed to disclose his HIV status, reports 13 News:
“I found out after we broke apart that he was, in fact, HIV positive for 20 years,” the alleged victim said. “It’s harmful to somebody’s health and you’re putting other people’s life at risk. And you can’t play God.”
Now that the charges have been dropped, the partner is speaking out, the Times reports:
“It was upsetting,” said the 27-year-old man who said he never knew his former partner had HIV. “The law isn’t updated, and that is the problem. Especially for a community that faces such a high risk.”
The defense attorney said the law was unfair and out of date.
The court ruling is certain to add more fuel to the growing anti-criminalization movement. That movement has also found support on Capitol Hill, where California Democrat Barbara Lee is floating draft legislation to repeal the laws passed in the late ’80s and early ’90s.