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dwhyman.jpg - 24.00 KCourt Rules Politician Guilty of Anti-Gay Defamation

Triangle Foundation Victorious Over Deborah Whyman

State Representative Held 'Personally Liable' for Lies


Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday
From Triangle Foundation Report

Detroit, Michigan--The Triangle Foundation was defamed by State Representative Deborah Whyman in her 1996 campaign literature, according to a Wayne County Circuit Court ruling handed down Monday.

During her 1996 campaign, Deborah Whyman distributed literature falsely stating that the Triangle Foundation supports "sex acts between grown men and boys."

The court ruled not only that her claim was false, and was not a mere opinion, but also that Whyman may "be held personally liable" for her statements.

The literature also falsely stated that the Triangle Foundation supported Whyman's opponent in that election, Deborah Nesbit, which as a non-profit organization, Triangle can not and did not do.

"Wayne County Circuit Judge Susan Borman is the fourth individual to conclude that lame-duck Whyman lied in her campaign literature. Three mediators earlier awarded the Triangle Foundation more that $15,000 in damages when they agreed that Whyman's accusation was false and malicious," said Rudy Serra, Triangle Board Member and attorney for the plaintiffs. Whyman declined the mediation judgment and the case went forward before Judge Borman. dwhyman2.jpg - 11.37 K Deborah Whyman in the Michigan State House

In an 18-page opinion, Judge Borman pointed out that Whyman quoted the by-laws of the Triangle Foundation and that "by quoting from the by-laws, one could infer that the defendants had actual knowledge of their contents, and thus had actual knowledge that by-laws had not " 'proclaimed' support for sex acts" involving minors.

The decision went on to say that, "the pleadings and other documents before the court appear to suggest that the activities of the (Triangle) Foundation may be directed toward improving the quality of life of those consenting adults who may constitute a so called 'sexual minority.'

"There is nothing beyond the rhetorical construction of the defendants that would tend to show that, in fact, plaintiffs have ever proclaimed support for pedophilia…The Triangle Foundation has never published or adopted any policies or statements of support for sex between adults and children…The court finds as a matter of law that the issue statement in the 1996 statement was defamatory per se as to all plaintiffs."

"This is an historic victory for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (glbt) people everywhere, said Jeffrey Montgomery, Executive Director of the Triangle Foundation.

"Never before has a glbt organization successfully sued an elected official for defamation. This should send a clear message to public officials everywhere that making and publishing defamatory statements about glbt people and organizations will be challenged and that they will be held personally responsible for their intentional lies about us.

"We hope that now Debbie Whyman will do the right thing a make a public apology for her lies. She owes it to her constituents, she owes it to every glbt person in Michigan, and she owes it to us," Montgomery concluded.


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