Calling Someone Gay Is No Longer Slander in New York

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A demonstrator waves a rainbow flag in front of the US Capitol in Washington on October 11, 2009 as tens of thousands of gay activists marched to demand civil rights, a day after President Barack Obama vowed to repeal a ban on gays serving openly in the US military.        AFP PHOTO/Maria Belen PEREZ GABILONDO (Photo credit should read Maria Belen Perez Gabilondo/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Joe Kohen/2009 Joe Kohen

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?