- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 30, 2004

BOSTON (AP) — Stating that someone is homosexual does not libel or slander them, particularly in light of new court decisions granting homosexuals more rights, a federal judge has ruled.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner came as she threw out a lawsuit by a former boyfriend of pop singer Madonna who claimed he was libeled because his name appeared in a photo caption in a book about Madonna — under a picture of Madonna walking with a homosexual man.

“In fact, a finding that such a statement is defamatory requires this court to legitimize the prejudice and bigotry that for too long have plagued the homosexual community,” she wrote in her opinion Friday.

The attorney for plaintiff James Albright, who had worked for Madonna as a bodyguard, didn’t immediately return telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment yesterday. Attorneys for the defendants, who included Madonna biographer Andrew Morton and St. Martin’s Press, the publisher, also didn’t respond to messages.

Judge Gertner said other courts’ rulings that stating someone is homosexual is defamatory had relied on laws criminalizing same-sex sexual acts that might well be unconstitutional. Previous decisions hadn’t taken into account more recent decisions recognizing homosexuals’ equal rights, she said.

She pointed to a Supreme Court ruling last year that found a Texas sodomy law unconstitutional, and to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling last year that it would be unconstitutional to prevent homosexuals in the state from “marrying.”

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