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.