Gay Couple Says Group Used Their Engagement Photo in Anti-Gay Attack

Gay Couple Says Group Used Their Engagement Photo in 

Anti-Gay Attack Mailers

By Shaun Knittel
Best Gay News Magazine Staff Writer
A New Jersey couple is suing a group that used their
engagement photo in two anti-gay campaign fliers in Colorado.
Southern Poverty Law Center will file suit against the
Virginia-based Public Advocates of the United States, on behalf of Brian Edwards
and Tom Privitere. The firm altered the couple’s engagement photo to attack
pro-gay Republican candidates, Sen. Jean White and Jeffrey Hare during primary
elections. White had voted for a bill in support of civil unions and Hare was
running for an open House seat in Weld County.
Originally pictured kissing before the Manhattan skyline,
White’s attack ad placed Edwards and Privetere against a snowy backdrop with
the words, “State Senator Jean White’s Idea of ‘Family Values?,’” while Hare’s
featured clouds and posed the question, “Jeffrey Hare’s Vision for Weld
They both lost their primaries.
According to news reports, when the ads initially appeared,
The Denver Post asked Public Advocate’s president, Eugene Delgaudio, why they
used the photo and if they were worried about copyright infringement.
“We are a non-profit and make no money from any photos,
postings, references, parodies, street theater or educational materials,”
Delgaudio responded via email. “Other groups make fair use of our materials or
2000 photos from our website under these broad principles of political
education and we acknowledge a limited use of many of our own materials, by
other groups, under parody, some fairly strong critical attacks from our political
opposition on our efforts as part of a robust debate.”
 “I can’t help but
feel the need to warn other LGBT couples that hey, even after you overcome your
fears of coming out to your families and friends and coworkers; even after you
graduate and leave that hellhole of a high school, where every single day you
feared for your life; even after all the letters to your senators and the
countless marches that eventually won you and your state the marriage equality
you deserve; even after you find your soul mate, get engaged and then married…
someone, a stranger, will seek out your image on the internet, perhaps on a
site like this one which was created to document our journey down the aisle
with the hopes that our experiences would benefit other LGBT couples… steal it
and use it in an attempt to destroy others who support you,” Edwards said on
his blog.
The Southern Poverty Law Center earlier placed Public
Advocate of the United States on its list of anti-gay hate groups. It cited
several reasons, including noting it provoked readers in a fundraising letter
to “imagine a world where the police allow homosexual adults to rape young boys
in the streets.”