'I'm Not Gay - Not that There's Anything Wrong with That!': Are Unwanted Imputations of Gayness Defamatory?

Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 249, 2006

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 25/2012

33 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2012 Last revised: 5 Apr 2015

See all articles by Dean R. Knight

Dean R. Knight

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2006

Abstract

The question of whether unwanted imputations of gayness are defamatory continues to be controversial. This article considers whether a person can bring a defamation claim if they have been described as being gay or lesbian. In particular, this article addresses whether such an imputation is defamatory, including whether such an imputation tends to lower the reputation of a person in the estimation of “right-thinking” members of society, and the unique issues that this imputation presents for possible defences. In addition to assessing the present position, this article considers whether imputations of gayness ought to be defamatory, particularly in the context of today’s legal environment. It is argued that an imputation of gayness should not be treated as being defamatory in the light of the reforms of gay and lesbian rights, including the anti-discrimination and equality protections that are now commonplace in Anglo-Commonwealth societies.

Keywords: Defamation, gay, homosexual, lesbian, sexuality, human rights

JEL Classification: K00, K13

Suggested Citation

Knight, Dean R., 'I'm Not Gay - Not that There's Anything Wrong with That!': Are Unwanted Imputations of Gayness Defamatory? (July 1, 2006). Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 249, 2006; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 25/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1995632

Dean R. Knight (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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