LGBT charity Lambda Legal has filed a brief arguing that a federal court should reject Howard K Stern’s claim that being called gay is defamatory and entitles him to collect damages.

Stern’s lawsuit concerns passages in a book titled Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind the Death of Anna Nicole Smith.

“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 anti-gay biases that New York has repeatedly rejected.”

The book’s author, Rita Cosby, alleged that lawyer Stern and Larry Birkhead were once caught by Smith naked and having oral sex.

Stern and Birkhead vied for custody of Smith’s baby girl Danielynn after the model died of a drug overdose in 2007.