OCALA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) — A Marion County man who is facing charges of sexual activities involving animals is challenging the constitutionality of laws banning such activities.
According to the Gainesville Sun, 32-year-old Carlos Romero filed a motion requesting that the judge overseeing his case declare an existing Florida statute that bans sex or sexual activities involving animals unconstitutional.
He and the assistant public defenders assigned to the case reportedly claimed that the statute impedes on Romero’s due process rights.
“By making sexual conduct with an animal a crime, the statute demeans individuals like Defendant (Romero) by making his private sexual conduct a crime,” the attorneys were quoted as additionally noting by the newspaper.
The offending statute also violates a part of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by “personal liberty and autonomy when it comes to private intimate activities,” according to documents filed by Romero’s attorneys and obtained by the Sun.
Florida’s statute reportedly prohibits any and all zoophilic acts, which is why Romero and his defenders feel it violates the Equal Protection Clause.
“The personal morals of the majority, whether based on religion or traditions, cannot be used as a reason to deprive a person of their personal liberties,” the documents stated, according to the Sun. “If the statute were to require sexual conduct with animals to be nonconsensual or to cause injury in order to be a crime, then perhaps the State would have a rational basis and legitimate state interest in enforcement.”
They added, “The classification of zoophilic acts as first-degree misdemeanors is grossly out of proportion to the severity of zoophilic acts. [T]he only possible rational basis for the statute is a moral objection to sexual acts considered deviant or downright ‘disgusting,’?”
Romero was first arrested in August after getting caught engaging in sex acts with Doodle, a female miniature donkey.
Romero is facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge of sexual activities involving animals, which if convicted, could result in a year in jail. Romero and his legal representation also allegedly feel that this punishment is excessive, and would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.
Romero had reportedly been offered a plea deal which would involve a year of probation, a $200 fine and other mandates, including not being allowed to own pet sand submitting to psychosexual evaluation and STD testing, among other items.