After 2 years, Florida court defines sexual intercourse - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

After 2 years, Florida court defines sexual intercourse

(Source: File) (Source: File)

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - It took two years and three dictionaries, but the Florida Supreme Court finally determined Thursday that "sexual intercourse" isn't just between a man and a woman.

The question arose during a case in which a man was charged with a third-degree felony for failing to reveal to his male partner that he was HIV-positive. His lawyer argued before the state's high court in February 2015 that Florida laws were so narrowly defined that "sexual intercourse" didn't apply to sexual activity between same-sex partners or any activity beyond traditional sex.

The court rejected that argument, ruling that the Legislature's goal was clearly to reduce the spread of HIV when it enacted the 1986 law, even if it didn't clearly spell out what it mean by "sexual intercourse."

"Because the Legislature did not define 'sexual intercourse' ... we look to the dictionary in order to ascertain the plain and ordinary meaning of the term," the court wrote in the unanimous decision before quoting three dictionaries. The plain meaning of sexual intercourse clearly encompasses "acts beyond penile-vaginal intercourse," the court said.

The court wrote that gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by the spread of HIV and said the disclosure law wasn't meant to be restricted to sex between men and women.

The case was brought after Gary Debaun was charged in 2011 with not disclosing that he was HIV-positive before having sex with his partner. Court records show Debaun's partner asked him to take an HIV test, and that Debaun, who knew he was infected, provided fake results showing he was free of the virus that causes AIDS.

A lower court threw out the charge, but it was reinstated upon appeal. The case will now go back to the trial court.

Debaun's attorney, Brian Ellison, wouldn't comment on the specifics of the ruling.

"We had our day in court and the court heard our arguments and the court has spoken," he said.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • No rain in sight: Fire fears force land closures in Arizona

    No rain in sight: Fire fears force land closures in Arizona

    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:33 AM EDT2018-05-26 05:33:23 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:55 PM EDT2018-05-26 17:55:43 GMT
    (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca). In a Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a sign posted at a trail leading into the national forest in Flagstaff, Ariz., tells the public no one is allowed in. Multiple areas of national forests around Arizona are closed because o...(AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca). In a Thursday, May 24, 2018, photo, a sign posted at a trail leading into the national forest in Flagstaff, Ariz., tells the public no one is allowed in. Multiple areas of national forests around Arizona are closed because o...
    Fears of massive wildfires force closures on federal and state land in Arizona.More >>
    Fears of massive wildfires force closures on federal and state land in Arizona.More >>
  • Subtropical Storm Alberto heads to the US Gulf

    Subtropical Storm Alberto heads to the US Gulf

    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:23 AM EDT2018-05-26 09:23:12 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:55 PM EDT2018-05-26 17:55:21 GMT
    A gradual strengthening is expected through the weekend as Alberto moves north. (Source: NOAA/CIRA/RAMMB/CNN)A gradual strengthening is expected through the weekend as Alberto moves north. (Source: NOAA/CIRA/RAMMB/CNN)

    A storm moving slowly through the Caribbean Sea is threatening to bring heavy rainfall, mudslides, and flash floods to parts of Mexico, Cuba, Florida and the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.

    More >>

    A storm moving slowly through the Caribbean Sea is threatening to bring heavy rainfall, mudslides, and flash floods to parts of Mexico, Cuba, Florida and the eastern U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.

    More >>
  • More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

    More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

    Saturday, May 26 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-05-26 13:33:35 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 1:56 PM EDT2018-05-26 17:56:01 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File). FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through the courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File). FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through the courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the...

    A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and that'll continue, no matter what the Supreme Court decides in the case of a baker who wouldn't create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    More >>

    A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and that'll continue, no matter what the Supreme Court decides in the case of a baker who wouldn't create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly