No longer 'defamatory' to call someone gay, court rules

Fri. June 1, 2012 9:02 AM by News Staff

New York City - Is it an insult to call someone gay? Not anymore, a court in New York State has ruled.

Appellate Division's Third Department ruled that if someone spreads rumors that you're gay, that is not defamatory.

The case involved an upstate New York man, Mark Yonaty. He claimed that a woman had told people he was gay, in hopes that his girlfriend would break up with him and date her instead.

In the new ruling, the court wrote that past rulings labeling this sort of thing "defamatory" were "based on a false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful to be described as lesbian, gay or bisexual."

"It doesn't mean this is the universal view of the country," Jonathan L. Entin, a professor of law and political science at Case Western Reserve University Law School in Ohio, told the Associated Press. "The traditional view of being called gay was like being called an evil person. The state of public opinion has changed, but there are still people who feel that way."