Howard K. Stern on Larry King Live in 2007

Being identified as gay is neither bad nor shameful an LGBT advocacy group has stated in a lawsuit involving the late actress Anna Nicole Smith’s controversial attorney, Howard K. Stern.

Last week, Lambda Legal filed a brief arguing that a New York court should reject Stern’s claim that being called gay is defamatory and entitles him to collect damages.

In 2007, Stern filed a lawsuit against author Rita Cosby claiming that he was defamed by passages in the book Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind the Death of Anna Nicole Smith.

The book claimed that Stern and Larry Birkhead, who were both former lovers of the actress, were also involved in a gay relationship with each other.

“Saying that someone is gay is not an insult. Being identified as gay is neither bad nor shameful — in life and under the law,” said Thomas W. Ude, Jr., Senior Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal.

“At its core, defamation is about disgrace. Recognition of this defamation claim would demean gay men and lesbians by giving credence to antigay biases that New York has repeatedly rejected.”

Stern was recently arrested on charges of working with two doctors to illegally supply Nicole Smith with prescription drugs. The actress, model and television personality died in 2007 from what was ruled an accidental overdose of prescription medication.

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