Sodomy law means calling someone 'queer' is slander, court rules
[SAN ANTONIO, TX] - Because Texas law forbids gay sex, calling someone "queer" is slanderous, the Texas Court of Appeals ruled in an opinion released December 18.
The case the court was examining revolves around a state inmate, Dan Thomas, who accused corrections officer William Bynum of slander by calling him "queer" in front of other prisoners.
When Thomas complained to prison officials, he claims Bynum then filed fake charges against Thomas. He also claims that shift lieutenant Billy Reese did not investigate the complaints against Bynum and did not let Thomas appear at a hearing to contest the charges Bynum filed.
Thomas filed a suit against Bynum, charging him with slander, fraud, civil rights violations and infliction of emotional distress. He also sued Reese for civil rights violations.
Angelini made references to an earlier Texas ruling in which the court ruled that, since homosexual activity is illegal in Texas, referring to someone as "queer" is automatically slanderous. That ruling was in 1980; a 1997 5th District Court of Appeals ruling in another case came to the same conclusion about the pejorative "faggot."
The Texas "homosexual conduct" law is presently before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will rule on its constitutionality by the end of June.