NEW YORK: Judge Allows "You Are Gay" Defamation Lawsuit To Proceed
A New York judge has ruled that it can be defamatory to allege that someone is a homosexual. Courts in several other jurisdiction have issued contrary opinions for years.
In Yonaty v. Mincolla, 1003-2009, Broome County Supreme Court Justice Phillip R. Rumsey (See Profile) rejected the defendants' summary judgment motion, and held that the assertion of homosexuality constituted defamation. "While the law may, at some point, change in response to evolving social attitudes regarding homosexuality, the existing law in New York, as expressed by the Appellate Divisions, which this court is bound to follow, is that imputation of homosexuality constitutes defamation per se," Justice Rumsey wrote, citing 2007 Appellate Division, Second Department, decision Klepetko v. Reisman, 41 AD3d 551, which cites a 1984 case, Matherson v. Marchello, 100 AD2d 233.The above-linked article notes that while New York state repealed its anti-sodomy statute in 1980, the state Court of Appeals has never been asked to rule on whether calling somebody a homosexual is defamatory.