Biden Admin Sues Tennessee

A recent lawsuit has been filed by the Department of Justice against the state of Tennessee for enforcing its aggravated prostitution law.

According to the Justice Department, the state is illegally imposing harsher penalties on sex workers who have HIV, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The investigation found that the state’s aggravated prostitution statute treats people living with HIV differently, solely based on their HIV status, rather than any actual risk of harm.

Under this law, an individual convicted of aggravated prostitution could face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while someone without HIV could only face a misdemeanor charge with a maximum of six months in prison and a $500 fine. The Justice Department argues that this is discriminatory and a violation of the ADA.

However, the consequences for those convicted of aggravated prostitution go beyond just the legal penalties. Being associated with a violent sexual offense puts individuals on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry.

The Justice Department is seeking compensatory damages for a prostitute who became homeless and struggled to find safe housing and employment due to her place on the registry. This lawsuit highlights the outdated beliefs and assumptions that individuals with HIV will spread it or that having HIV is a death sentence, which have been proven to be untrue. Not sure how that is an outdate belief, but the Justice Department is going with it.

“The enforcement of state criminal laws that treat people differently based on HIV status alone and that are not based on actual risks of harm discriminate against people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke argued. “People living with HIV should not be subjected to a different system of justice based on outdated science and misguided assumptions.”

The move was heavily criticized on social media:

Town Hall | ABC News