A Minnesota resident speaking before the House Civil Law Committee offered a shockingly inaccurate testimony in an attempt to thwart the approval of same-sex marriage in the state.
Mike Frey, a "concerned" father and husband, spoke in front of the committee on Tuesday and cited Minnesota's sodomy law, struck down in 2001, which defined sodomy as both anal and oral sex. He attempted to argue that gay sex poses a danger to citizens of the state because it results in the spread of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
He claimed that heterosexual sex could be safer because the vagina has a "barrier of cellular tissue that doesn't allow the sperm ... to penetrate the blood flow," but anal sex doesn't have such protections.
"When ejaculation occurs inside of a colon, it's highly absorbent material, the cells do not have a barrier for the sperm and those enzymes to enter into the blood flow," Frey said. "When the enzymes enter into the blood flow, and a continued, prolonged environment of that happens, these enzymes in the blood flow, it causes what we know as AIDS."
Frey's discussion of AIDS during a same-sex marriage hearing is striking because AIDS affects people of all genders, races and sexual orientations. The information shared by Frey is not only homophobic, it is also misleading.
Out of the 34 million adults living with HIV/AIDS around the world, approximately half are women, according to international HIV/AIDS charity AVERT. "Generally women are at a greater risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV. Biologically women are twice more likely to become infected with HIV through unprotected heterosexual intercourse than men," AVERT explains.
Although statistics on transmission of the disease in the U.S. show more infection diagnoses in the category of male-to-male sexual contact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Women's Health states that women are particularly vulnerable to infection because of the surface area of the vagina open to exposure and because of the duration semen can stay in the vagina.
Unprotected anal sex is risky for both males and females, according to the Centers for Disease Control, as this is a sexual activity practiced by both gay and heterosexual couples. The same is true for oral sex.
Approximately 60 were slated to testify on the same-sex marriage bill before the House Civil Law Committee on Tuesday, Minneapolis station KMSP reported, with 35 in favor and 25 against. A vote is expected at midnight.
Minnesota's Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved the marriage equality bill 5-3. The measure now advances to the Senate floor.
UPDATE: The Civil Law committee in the Minnesota House passed the same-sex marriage bill on Tuesday evening, according to Minnesota Public Radio. The legislation passed 10 to 7. Next up, the full House and Senate will hold a vote. Final votes aren't expected until later in the session.