Lambda vs. Howard K. Stern

Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer-turned-lover Howard K. Stern is suing an author for $60 million for claiming in a book that he's gay. Lambda Legal doesn't like that, because there's "nothing shameful about being identified as gay."

BY Gabriel G. Arana

April 09 2009 11:00 PM ET

HOWARD K. STERN MUG X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Lawyers for the defense
have also questioned whether Stern can really claim damages
given that Hollywood is generally accepting of gays and
lesbians.

"[C]ertainly in
the milieu Stern has lived in for the past decade…saying
someone is gay or bisexual, even if false, is not
defamatory," a defense brief states.

Stern's lawyer did
not respond to requests for comment, but the nature of the suit
raises the question of the role that plaintiffs play in
furthering antigay prejudice.

Ude, however, said that
the particulars of the case or the motive of the plaintiff
matter less than the broad implications of having courts
recognize that being called gay -- false or not -- is not
damaging to one's reputation.

"It's less
about the individual plaintiff than about what recognizing the
claim could mean for society," he said.

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