No Apologies From Political Group Who Pilfered Gay Couple’s Wedding Pic For Attack Ad

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On Thursday, Andrew reported on the hideous repurposing of a gay couple's wedding photo for use in a political attack ad in Colorado. The ad was created by a third-party group supporting Republican Rep. Randy Baumgardner, who's looking to unseat Republican Sen. Jean White, of Hayden. Rep. Baumgardner accuses Sen. White of "joining Denver liberals attacking traditional marriage" by twice voting for a civil unions bill. (Sen. White has a gay niece and nephew.)

20120606__white2~p1The couple pictured in the ad have nothing to do with the political campaign. In his previous report, Andrew quoted one of the men, Brian Edwards, who wrote movingly of the photo-pilfering on his blog:

I want to share what this picture means to me. It represents my first home away from home, my beloved NYC, which at the time this image was taken (2 years ago) did not allow same sex couples to marry. It represents my longterm relationship with my best friend, my partner, and now husband – the love we share and obstacles we have overcome. It is a reminder of the happiness I felt the day he proposed to me and of the excitement I had all throughout our engagement. It represents hope and it represents love. Or at least it did…

 The group responsible for the ad is called the Public Advocate for the United States, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a "hate group." They've caught wind of the controversy generated by their ad, and they've issued a statement. From the Denver Post:

Eugene Delgaudio, the president of Public Advocate, was asked via e-mail why his group used that picture and whether there were concerns about copyright infringement.

He responded: “We are a non-profit and make no money from any photos, postings, references, parodies, street theater or educational materials. 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.”

No apologies, then. Presumably, it wouldn't strike Delguadio as particularly unethical for a rival political group to use pictures of his own family in an attack ad — especially since he, unlike the couple whose picture he pilferred, is a public combatant in the political arena. Or maybe he has a different standard for straight folks. 

Comments

  1. Icebloo says

    It’s really no surprise they won’t apologize. Republicans would sell their own mothers if they would gain financially from it.

    Republicans are gutless and evil.

  2. Steve says

    The so-called “Public Advocate” is one insane guy and a computer. There is no “they” there. Delgaudio is all there is. And of course he won’t apologize. Have you ever read any of his ramblings? He is easily the most stupid and crazy of all professional homophobes.

  3. scott says

    He doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, this pic is not part of the public domain. I really hope they sue him for everything he has.

    And since his “non-profit” pays him a six figure salary he’s going to lose a LOT!

  4. sparks says

    “by twice voting for a civil unions bill. (Sen. White has a gay niece and nephew.)”
    ——

    And THIS is why staying in the closet is harmful to individuals as well as to the LGBT community at large.

    For a lot of conservatives who tend to roll with whatever talking points they hear from the GOP, all it takes is KNOWING a gay person in their own family, for them to reconsider their viewpoints on how gays are treated under the law.

  5. Ken says

    Delguadio and many Americans just aren’t buying it. Pictures of two men kissing look strange, funny or perverted to them. It’s not just “Republicans,” it’s everyone. This is a hard sell, and while it is nothing to us, who have lived gay lives, had gay sex, the negatives from those with no exposure are great. Stealing a “wedding” picture is one thing We have not acknowledged the potential dangers we may face. This isn’t a scare tactic — it’s reality boys.

  6. says

    Screw hollow apologies, take legal actions! They’re almost certainly in violation of copyright protections. You can’t just “borrow” a photo, whether you’re a “non-profit” or not. (The fact he’s using this excuse shows what little he knows about photo licensing.) They need to take down the photo and pay up.

    @Ken: Your trembling mentality is lodged in the 1950s. The rest of us have moved on.

  7. Tim says

    One member of the couple, Tom, is a long-time friend of mine. They are currently researching lawyers to take their case. They will sue and will hopefully take every penny Delgaudio has. They will also help further expose the hate and homophobia money-making machine that is the one-person shop known as the “Public Advocate.”

  8. Sue says

    Ken I am a heterosexual woman, no gay members in my immediate or extended family (as far as I know), and I’m disgusted that someone would take someone’s wedding photo without their permission, and use it to promote anything, let along inequality. And no, I don’t find two men kissing strange. Please check your self hate! This has infuriated me and I hope this couple has some legal recourse to stop this. I would definitely contribute to a legal fund to help! If my wedding photos were used in the same way, I would be firstly, heartbroken and then completely outraged!

  9. TomTallis says

    I doubt that liar and fraud, DelGaudio, has standards of any kind. The more publicly self-righteous, the more they had to hide. Jesus was right when he spoke of whited sepulchres.

  10. TomTallis says

    It should be pointed out that the photo was used without attribution, so not only does the couple have recourse, so does the photographer.

  11. Angela Channing says

    Ken, please note that by putting the word wedding in quote marks, it could give the impression that you are trying to convey it is not a real wedding. It was a real wedding indeed, and therefore it is a wedding photo, not a “wedding” photo. Thank you for listening.

  12. Gary says

    Couple things worth nothing here. Generally, the owner of the copyright of an image is the photographer, not the person pictured. If the photographer had them sign a contract with a model release included, and the photographer sold or gave permission to use the photo, then, the pictured couple may not have any legal recourse. More needs to be known about how they got the image, and if the couple signed a model release and what exactly the model release says if there is indeed one. Legalities aside, I feel terrible for the couple.

  13. Mike says

    Who do these anti-gay Christian Nazis have doing their propaganda Goebbels? Hitler would be proud of their black propaganda to smear gays and their LGBT allies. These crazy anti-gay people are fighting a war against their own people, sons, daughters and family. Reminds me of the Civil War that turned brother against brother in a blood bath to free the salves, only this time it will be the gays who go free.

  14. Geoff says

    Eugene is a hateful, hate-filled, illiterate wacko. He’s also just dumb enough to eventually do something REALLY stupid. If he isn’t sued this time, there’ll be another – though I so hope it’s this time. He really needs to be stopped…before he does something even more hateful and hurtful.

  15. says

    @Gary: While it’s true that depending on the circumstances a photographer and not the couple may own the copyrights, it seems clear the photographer did not give permission for the photo to be used or licensed that way. She addresses it on her blog: http://www.kristinahill.com/blog/

    Sounds like they’re pursuing their legal options, as the should be.

  16. UToGo says

    Ken, you gotta be better troller than that, my man. come on now… When you’re gonna troll, really TROLL. Nothing gives a troll away better than when they are persistent in pointing out they are ay in their commenting all while making a backward, ding dong, ignorant behind comment.

    Own YOUR own bigotry fool instead of speaking for all Americans.

  17. STR8Dude GayBro says

    Ken,

    Who are you speaking for? I’m straight, have plenty of straight friends, my brothers gay, they are all aroud his boyfriend and see them kissing ALL the time. If they were as uncomfortable as you claim they were, they would never want to be around that. Maybe it’s who you surround yourself with and celebrating your own ignorance but 90% of straight people know a gay person and most well adjusted gays like my brother have no issue being appropriately affectionate with their significant other.

  18. Dynex says

    Wow…. Read this below about this man:

    “Delgaudio was a board member of the conservative youth group Young Americans for Freedom. In 1981, he started Public Advocate of the U.S., a conservative activist group known for its street theater and its protests opposing taxes and homosexuality. He has staged numerous protests outside the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Capitol including a “Perverts for Cellucci” rally opposing the nomination of Paul Celucci as ambassador to Canada, a man-donkey wedding to support the Federal Marriage Amendment, and a “Kennedy Sobriety Checkpoint” to draw attention to Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy’s (D-RI) car accident.[5] In August 2007, he introduced a resolution asking the county administrator to determine which county services could be denied to undocumented immigrants. Delgaudio has also controversially asked Muslims if they “come in peace” and whether they pledge allegiance to the United States.[6]”

    How is he not experencing back lash by being on the board of supervisors for any city? He’s Nazi territory with these actions toward racial, ethnic and sexual minorities.

  19. says

    @ Dynex

    I agree that what LGBT organizations AND muslim groups as well as immigration reform groups and Latino leaders need to all come together and galvanize against this many working for the city of Sterling, as any official. This needs to be done. Often, the public has no idea who is on what board. This man needs to be better exposed. Sterling is in Northern, VA, and is not a very conservative area at all. Fiscally yes bu socially no. It’s right outside D.C.
    This man needs to lose his position!

  20. mschelley says

    This is, not only, copyright infringement, but defamation, and misappropriation of name, image, and likeness. It’s deplorable and whether or not an organization is a non-profit, it does not get to thumb their nose at the laws and it sure as hell is not justified in taking someone’s wedding photograph and sullying it for their own hate filled campaign.

  21. vraxvalhalla says

    Instead of focusing on the knuckle-dragging homophobe, my goes out to Sen. White. She’s a Republican trying to do the right thing here.

  22. Mary says

    I’d like to defend Ken here. I don’t think he’s a troll. He’s posted many times on Towleroad and he seems sincere to me. It is true that there are still millions of people who are repelled by any photo of same-sex affection. But it’s also true that the more people see these photos the more their opinions change over time. So a wedding photo of two gay men kissing innocently is just what they SHOULD see to get accustomed to the idea that marriage equality is a change they can live with.

    DelGaudio and those like him can always show the flamobyant types that march in gay pride parades and this will repel more Americans, but it is increasingly starting to strike ordinary citizens as dirty tactics to portray gays as ostentatious “freaks”. Increasingly the anti-gay side is boxed in, unable to portray gays as eccentric and threatening and only furthering the pro-gay cause by showing gays as mainstream and wanting to commit.

    So Ernie I’m with you on this one – and this may be the first time we’ve agreed on anything! I know from personal experience. I gave up my opposition to marriage equality when I started to view gay couples as beautiful. How could I convince other that they looked “unnatural” when I couldn’t even convince myself anymore?

  23. jamal49 says

    I am on Delgaudio’s mailing list for Public Advocate of the United States. I believe it is important to know what one’s enemies are up to.

    PAUS is a very small group and I will sarcastically claim that it consists of Delgaudio alone. PAUS’ IRS statements show that it is mostly a bare-bones operation. PAUS is constantly soliciting donations (of which I give none).

    PAUS is exclusively focused on denying LGBTQ people equal rights. Every email concerns same-sex marriage (or, “gay marriage”–god I hate that term!) or that equality for LGBTQ people will mean rampant child molestation and sexual indoctrination in public schools that favor the “homosexual lifestyle”.

    Based on the content of PAUS’ emails, the SPLC is correct to designate PAUS as a hate-group. Much of what PAUS states in its emails and its public statements stop just this short of advocating violence against LGBTQ people.

    I reiterate a point I made the other day about this ad:

    The couple in the picture have legal grounds to sue PAUS and I mean sue them into bankrupt oblivion. If the couple does not hire an attorney and do so, or if no LGBTQ legal advocacy group does not step up and do so, then a pox on all of their houses.

    Having said that, I think there is a great irony in PAUS’ use of the couple’s wedding photo as a clarion call against legalising “same-sex” marriage.

    The irony is that PAUS could have used any available photo from the various Pride Parades of last weekend and garnered any number of photos of men in assless leather chaps or drag queens or kissing bull-dykes to make its point.

    Instead, it chose an innocuous picture of two very loving men, kissing chastely in a photo-shopped scene of a beautiful, pristine, pure-as-snow backdrop.

    I believe that more people will look at that ad and have their anti-marriage equality, anti-LGBTQ attitudes changed to acceptance more than those who might have their bigotry confirmed.

    If this lovely photo of sweet, charming couple engaging in a sweet, gentle, non-sexual kiss can’t change attitudes then nothing can.

    And I still think the couple should sue PAUS into oblivion.

  24. Todd says

    UTOGO: Bigotry originated in the 1960’s. Queers have stolen it for their “struggle.” My comment is not backward. The world is not an episode of “Glee” and I hope just because you sound like such an assh—that you won’t have to find that out. FYI: Troll means noting to me. That’s your world.

  25. Leo says

    Nice try Eugene. Someone’s wedding photo does not fall under “fair use” and cannot be appropriated for political advertising without consent. Your “non-profit” (he pays himself a nice 6 figure salary) status is completely irrelevant.

  26. Jacob says

    Ken/Todd…. Now that you’ve been outted, it will be easy to assume every anti gay comments posted here (by someone posing as a gay person) is in all likelihood coming from one of your screenames. You really suck at trolling.

  27. Miffed says

    Can’t someone who works for a non profit for perhaps, STDs, just follow the organizers around and take and or use some of their photos for a campaign of their own say against anal warts.

  28. Bill says

    An offer of apology is not really needed; an attractive settlement offer is. And throw in a mailing to everyone who received that ad stating that the couple had their wedding picture used without their consent.

  29. Back tothe Closet says

    What PERVERTED CRAP, NONSENSE AND LIES YOU PROPAGATE!

    Why don’t you tell the world the secret signs sexual perverts use to avoid arrest in public to signal other perverts so they can have anonymous sex in those same public places.

    While you’re at it, include testimonies of the perverts who have reported with joy, the molestation and seduction of children in those same sort of encounters.

    Yeah, right. Honesty IS NOT your policy, especially revealing to the country your agenda to legalize sex with children.

  30. Back tothe Closet says

    What PERVERTED CRAP, NONSENSE AND LIES YOU PROPAGATE!

    Why don’t you tell the world the secret signs sexual perverts use to avoid arrest in public to signal other perverts so they can have anonymous sex in those same public places.

    While you’re at it, include testimonies of the perverts who have reported with joy, the molestation and seduction of children in those same sort of encounters.

    Yeah, right. Honesty IS NOT your policy, especially revealing to the country your agenda to legalize sex with children.

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