Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that the anti-gay slurs ‘punal’ and ‘maricon,’ both roughly translating as ‘faggot,’ constitute hate speech and are not constitutionally protected free speech.
The Supreme Court judges voted 3-2 on Wednesday in a case where a publisher and his colleagues at the Synthesis newspaper had been slandered with both terms in a column by a journalist at a rival newspaper named Intolerance.
Both newspapers are based in the state of Puebla.
Intolerance writer Quiroz Nunez Prida Huerta had written that Synthesis publisher Enrique Quiroz Nunez was a ‘punal’ and that only ‘maricones’ wrote for him.
‘Even though they are deeply rooted expressions in Mexican society, the fact is that the practices of the majority of society can’t validate the violations of [a] basic right,’ the judges wrote in their majority opinion.
The judges wrote that the terms were ‘offensive and discriminatory,’ and found that people subjected to the terms should be allowed to sue for ‘moral damages.’
‘The social problems of such speech is that, by the expressions of contempt and insult they contain, they generate social feelings of hostility against [particular] persons or groups.’
However the judges wrote that the terms, ‘can validly be used in studies in scientific or artistic works of nature,’ in quoting sources that used the terms.
Homosexuality has been legal in Mexico since 1871 when the country adopted the Napoleonic Code during a brief period of French occupation.