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Where free speech ends and hate speech begins

By RealJock Staff

A Rhode Island woman who hurled anti-gay slurs at her gay, HIV-positive neighbor was ordered to stop by a judge.

Theresa R. Deschenes was sued by the attorney general's new civil rights advocate's office. It was the first case for the newly formed office.

In his ruling, the judge said her insults amounted to "hateful conduct" and impinged on the man's right to live in peace, according to the Associated Press.

Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel dismissed defense claims that the woman was exercising her First Amendment right to free speech.

"She has intimidated him," Vogel told the Associated Press. "She has threatened him with physical violence…all connected to his sexual orientation."

Her accuser, Kenneth W. Potts, 48, sparked Deschenes' ire when he called child-welfare officials and she was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Deschenes told the Associated Press that she's not homophobic, she was angry at the arrest and report to child welfare.