In what's already been hailed as a landmark case, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that anti-gay slurs were not protected under the country's freedom of speech laws.
The Washington Blade reports that the justices ruled 3-2 that the terms "maricones" and "puñal," which were recently used by two Puebla-based journalists to criticize each other's work, were offensive and discriminatory.
Blabbeando features a full translation of a press statement released by the court. That ruling reads:
"In this sense, the First Chamber determined that homophobic expressions or - in other words the frequent allegations that homosexuality is not a valid option but an inferior condition - constitute discriminatory statements even if they are expressed jokingly, since they can be used to encourage, promote and justify intolerance against gays.
For this reason, the Chamber determined that the terms used in this specific case -- made up of the words "maricones" and "puñal" -- were offensive. These are expressions which are certainly deeply rooted in the language of Mexican society but the truth is that the practices of a majority of participants of a society cannot trump violations of basic rights."
The press statement also notes:
"It should be noted that the First Chamber does not hold that certain expressions which could be taken as having homophobic intent in abstract can never be validly used in scientific research or in artistic works. That does not, in itself, imply employing hate speech."
You can read a full version of the translated press statement on Blabbeando's blog here.
Among those to praise the decision was the National Council to Prevent Discrimination, who called it a "“substantive advance in the fight against homophobia in Mexico," according to the Blade.
In December, international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates praised the Mexican Supreme Court's ruling that a law in southern Oaxaca state which banned same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.