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equal rites

Calling Someone Gay Is No Longer Slander in New York

A New York appeals court reversed decades of rulings today, deciding that false statements about sexuality are no longer defamatory, and therefore not legally slanderous. Referring to someone as gay was previously considered slander (as was calling someone black, once upon a time), but the court ruled unanimously, "These appellate division decisions are inconsistent with current public policy and should no longer be followed." Such a precedent, they said, was "based on a false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful to be described as lesbian, gay or bisexual." Hear that, high schoolers?

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Photo: Joe Kohen/2009 Joe Kohen