Court Rules 'Gay' No Longer Defamatory
BY Julie Bolcer
June 01 2012 10:45 AM ET
Calling someone “gay” when they are not is no longer slander, a mid-level appeals court in New York ruled unanimously on Thursday.
Justice Thomas E. Mercure of the Appellate Division’s Third Department wrote that earlier rulings equating the words “lesbian, gay or bisexual,” with defamation were based on a “false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful,” reports the Associated Press. The absence of defamation precludes slander, the court said, while noting that previous rulings were “inconsistent with current public policy and should no longer be followed.”
The court ruled in the case of a Binghamton-area man, Mark Yonaty, who claimed that a woman had spread a rumor that he was gay in the hope it would cause his girlfriend to break up with him. The plaintiff claimed that the incident destroyed his relationship.
Legal experts interviewed by the AP said the ruling reflects a change in public opinion more than civil law. Being called gay, whether falsely or not, is still difficult for people in many parts of the country, as antibullying campaigns devoted to eliminating phrases such as “That’s so gay” attest.
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Crime Gay Man Gunned Down in NYC Street, Dies UPDATED: May 18 2013 7:24 PM
- Youth Florida Teen Arrested, Expelled for Same-Sex Relationship May 18 2013 6:58 PM
- Media Legendary Gay Gossip Columnist Michael Musto Responds to Being Laid Off May 18 2013 3:21 PM
- Marriage Equality Vive la France! Hollande Signs Marriage Equality Bill May 18 2013 12:20 PM
- Photography Photos: Cuba Libre May 18 2013 5:29 AM
- Television These 20 Sexy Pics of Stephen Amell Will Hit Your Bullseye May 17 2013 9:00 PM
- Politics Portugal Approves Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Spouses May 17 2013 8:32 PM