By JOSHUA BERNSTEINAPATTEA, AP NewsNetwork Washington – A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a decision by Verizon Wireless to close its human sexual activity registry after it was sued by a man who said his sexual orientation was a public health issue.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said the registry was not unconstitutional because it did not allow for the public to access data on sexual orientation.
But the judges said it did violate privacy and that the registry violated the First Amendment.
“The registry, like all government entities, must be open to the public,” said Judge William Alsup.
“The registry should be free of any restriction, no matter how small.”
Alsup was joined in his ruling by Chief Judge Richard Posner and Judge William Pryor of the U.K. Supreme Court.
The ruling was a victory for the gay rights group Lambda Legal, which had argued the registry did not violate anyone’s privacy and should remain open.
In his decision, Alsup said the government’s interest in the registry outweighed the privacy interest of individuals who have sexual orientations other than heterosexual.
Alsup also said the privacy interests of others are less important than the privacy of the government.
He said that even if some of the information was useful to the government, the registry should remain closed because it was created to protect the public.
“I am convinced that there is no compelling governmental interest that outweighs the interests of the people whose privacy it serves,” Alsup wrote.
In a statement, Comcast said it was pleased the appeals court affirmed the decision.
The judge said the company is reviewing the decision and will continue to work with the government to make sure the registry is closed.
The court ruled against the city of Arlington, which said it planned to appeal.
A judge in the U,S.
District Court for the District of Columbia also said Monday that a man had been charged with crimes related to the registry.