Some legal scholars propose that the right of privacy articulated by the United States Supreme Court should be extended to protect homosexual activity. In light of the advent of AIDS, should that extension include constitutional protection for homosexual men who frequent gay bathhouses? The author argues that although the government has the power to close the baths in the name of public health, it should not do so without careful and conscious balancing against the privacy rights infringed upon by its actions. Balancing the tension between public health policy and individual rights applies not only to the specific situation of the baths, but also to insurance companies' aim to test all single, young, male life and health policy applicants for exposure to the putative AIDS virus; to potential health department releases of names of those testing antibody-positive for HTLV-III; to the military's rumored plans to discharge all personnel suspected of having AIDS; and to school districts seeking to exclude children with AIDS.
Judith A. Rabin; The AIDS Epidemic and Gay Bathhouses: A Constitutional Analysis. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 August 1986; 10 (4): 729–747. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-10-4-729
Download citation file: