N.Y. judge says false allegation of homosexuality is defamatory

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An upstate New York judge has held that a false allegation of homosexuality is defamatory under New York case law, the Daily Business Review reports. This means Mark Yonaty, who denies that he is gay, can pursue his libel claim against a woman who said he is and against his former girlfriend.

Broome County Supreme Court Justice Phillip R. Rumsey said that decisions by state appellate courts dating back to 1964 require such a ruling.

“While the law may, at some point, change in response to evolving social attitudes regarding homosexuality,” Rumsey wrote in the decision, “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.”