What does a “vigorous sex drive” and a low IQ get you?
In Britain, the answer seems to be a court order preventing you from having sex.
In a ruling that was attacked by some as homophobic and insensitive to disabled peoples’ rights, a British court ordered last week that a man with a low IQ be banned from having sex.
The man, a 41-year-old identified in public only as “Alan,” was involved in a relationship with another man. Social aid officials from his local town hall had argued in court that Alan’s “vigorous sex drive” combined with his “moderate” learning disability made him incapable of consenting to sex, the Telegraph reported.
They argued that, even though he is capable of understanding the mechanics of sex, he is not capable of understanding the health risks involved. Officials also reportedly argued Alan should be kept away from sex education because it could “confuse” him.
In ordering the sex ban, the judge noted that the case is “legally, intellectually and morally” complicated because sex is “one of the most basic human functions.”
Alan’s order came from the Court of Protection, a body PinkNews described as “a secret court dating from medieval times” that holds trials in secret.
According to the Telegraph, the court was given new life by a 2005 law that authorizes government officials to make personal decisions for people deemed not mentally competent.
Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, its judges have the power to make life or death decisions for people deemed to lack the intelligence to make them for themselves – such as ordering that they undergo surgery, have forced abortions, have life-support switched off or be forced to use contraception.
Alan reportedly came to the attention of authorities in 2008 when it was alleged he made “lewd gestures” at children at a dentist’s office and on a bus. No police action was taken, but a year later the local town council began proceedings to stop Alan from having sexual relations with his male partner.
The judge’s order requires “close supervision” of Alan to make sure he isn’t engaging in sexual relations. Officials told the Telegraph Alan was being closely monitored at home, except when alone in his bedroom.
“This may not be outright homophobia, but I think a general distaste for gay sex underpins the council’s attitudes,” a retired lawyer and blogger told PinkNews. “The court debates issues of informed consent, wondering if any partner might be accused of raping him. Would this issue even have been raised if they were discussing a heterosexual relationship?”