Anti-LGBT Group Alters Same-Sex Couple's Photo for Attack Ad

Same-sex couple Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere are considering a lawsuit against an anti-gay union that photoshopped their engagement photo before cruelly displaying it in an attack ad targeting a pro-gay marriage Republican.

The attack ad, sponsored by Public Advocate of the United States, took the photo from Edwards’ personal blog and replaced the New York City skyline with a snowy Colorado landscape, the tagline reading: “State Sen. Jean White's Idea of 'Family Values?’”

The couple and photographer Krstina Hill, with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), are threatening to sue the ant-gay organization and its president, Eugene Delgaudio, if they continue to use the photo.

"Our initial reaction was complete shock," Privitere, who has been with Edwards for 12 years, and now lives in Montclair, New Jersey.  “We were heartbroken to see that our picture that was taken to represent love and family, and our values, and to share with other LGBT couples, was used for complete opposite purposes to induce fear and spread hate and bigotry," he said.

SPLC lawyer Christine Sun told ABCNews that Public Advocate, based in Falls Church, Virginia, has 10 days to respond to her letter demanding the organization stop using the photo in their ad.  If Public Advocate refuses, SPLC will make legal copyright claims for the photographer, as well as state law privacy claims and infliction of emotional distress for Edwards and Privitere.

She said:

Beyond a lawsuit ... we decided to get involved because these actions are truly reprehensible -- to take a personal photo of the happiest day in a couple's life and use it in a homophobic attack ad. It's demonizing, unfair and unjustifiable.

“We went through the whole process of anger and heartbreak," Privitere told ABC News,"And now that we are on this road, we are trying to get some justice not just for us, but for other couples."

AlterNet / By Angela Lee

Posted at July 13, 2012, 10:21am

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