Judge says 'gay' isn't defamatory

Posted on 14 Aug 2009 at 9:13am
Howard K. Stern
Howard K. Stern

Okay, so Howard K. Stern, the former boyfriend of the late Anna Nicole Smith, is suing author Rita Cosby and The Hatchett Book Group over Stern’s book, “Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith’s Death,” because, Stern says, the book contains 19 libelous statements, including the author’s claims that he had oral sex at a party in Los Angeles with Larry Birkhead, the father of Smith’s child, and that Smith later called Stern gay.

But now, according to a report by Reuters, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin has ruled that the case could proceed on only 11 of the statements, and the claim that Stern is gay and had gay sex with another Anna Nicole ex — baby daddy Larry Birkhead — is not one of the 11.

Judge Chin said that statements implying homosexuality were not defamatory because: “I respectfully disagree that the existence of this continued prejudice leads to the conclusion that there is a widespread view of gays and lesbians as contemptible and disgraceful.”

But Judge Chin did acknowledge that gay people still face prejudice.

That’s progress, don’t you think? I mean, allowing someone to say that they are defamed by the implication that they are gay is the same as saying there is something wrong with being gay, right? And I am also glad to see the judge understands that while calling someone gay isn’t the same as calling them a dirty name, gay people still face a lot of prejudice and discrimination.

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