Recent cases filed in Florida court ask important questions about a seemingly straightforward sex crime law. In the majority of states, including Florida, it is considered a sex crime to have sexual intercourse with a partner if you have a sexually transmitted disease and have not disclosed this information to your sexual partner. This law seems fairly straightforward at first glance.
However, a recent case involving an HIV-positive woman who did not disclose her disease to her female partner has suddenly made the law potentially more complex. An appellate court threw out the criminal case against the HIV-positive woman, citing the rationale that the statute intends for sexual intercourse to mean a physical union between a man and a woman.
Another criminal case involving an HIV-positive man who had a physical relationship with a male partner was upheld by a different Florida appellate court due to its broad interpretation of what it means to have sexual intercourse. As a result of these conflicting appellate opinions, the Florida Supreme Court will likely be compelled to rule one way or another on the meaning of sexual intercourse as applied in this particular statute.
Until this issue is fully resolved, same-sex sexual relationships affected by this criminal law will likely continue to be decided in inconsistent and conflicting ways. If you are charged with a sex crime involving failure to inform your partner about a sexually transmitted disease, please contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the inconsistent interpretations of this particular Florida law.
Source: Miami Herald, “HIV-disclosure law sparks unique legal battle in Florida,” David Ovalle, Nov. 18, 2013