While the New York Legislature appeared poised to pass a law legalizing same-sex marriage, a Broome County judge has allowed a man to proceed with a libel suit against a woman who alleged he was gay, finding that under appellate case law, the imputation of homosexuality was defamation per se.

Mark Yonaty brought the defamation action against Jean Mincolla, who claimed she was “advised” that Mr. Yonaty was gay or bisexual. She in turn sued Ruthanne Koffman, who repeated the allegation to the mother of Mr. Yonaty’s girlfriend. Mr. Yonaty claims that once his girlfriend heard the story about his purported sexual orientation, she broke off the relationship. Mr. Yonaty denies he is gay.

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