A Utah bill that would make it a
criminal offense for a person not to disclose their HIV/AIDS status
before engaging in any sexual activity has cleared a House committee.
According to Salt Lake City's FOX 13,
the bill, written by Republican Representative Justin Fawson, cleared
the panel Friday morning with a 9-2 vote despite objections from the
committee's two ranking Democrats.
Equality Utah, the state's largest LGBT
rights advocate, warned that Fawson's bill would “criminalize”
people with HIV and create an environment that discourages people
from getting tested.
Equality Utah Executive Director Troy
Williams told lawmakers that they were “starting down a path toward
criminalizing people with HIV.”
“It doesn't criminalize HIV, it only
criminalizes the act,” Fawson
said. “So if someone's HIV positive and they disclose, there's
no problem. There's always a potential of transmitting HIV. We
can't reduce that to zero. They have to inform a partner that they
are HIV positive.”
The House Judiciary Committee which
approved the bill is chaired by Rep. LaVar Christensen, a vocal
opponent of LGBT rights.
The bill now heads to the full House.