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Mexico high court rules denigration of sexual orientation not protected speech

The Supreme Court of Mexico [official website, in Spanish] ruled [press release, in Spanish] on Wednesday that certain offensive statements regarding another individual's sexual orientation are not protected under the nation's freedom of expression laws. In a 3-2 decision the Mexican high court held that two derogatory words used in Mexico to describe gay people are hate speech, and are therefore not legally protected. The case concerned a journalist who sued a columnist [AP report] at a different newspaper for moral damages after the columnist wrote a story describing the journalist in terms used to denigrate gay people. The court ruled that although the terms were deeply rooted in Mexican society, their use is not protected when the intent is to cause harm to others. The court is expected to issue a full opinion at a later date.

Mexico [JURIST news archive] has been at the center of legal and political controversy in recent years surrounding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] and other issues pertaining to gay rights. Two weeks ago the Mexican Supreme Court published the written judgment [JURIST report] for its December decision striking down Oaxaca's same-sex marriage ban. In August 2010 the Mexican Supreme Court upheld a Mexico City law [JURIST report] allowing adoptions by same-sex couples. Earlier that month the court ruled 9-2 that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City must be recognized nationwide [JURIST report]. The court found that although Mexico's 31 states are not required to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in their jurisdictions, they must confer marital rights to same-sex couples married in Mexico City. Earlier in 2010 the court ruled 8-2 that Mexico City's same-sex marriage law is constitutional [JURIST report].

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