Colorado | Gay Marriage | New Jersey | SPLC | Virginia

Judge Issues Split Ruling In Anti-Gay Group's Unauthorized Use Of Gay Couple's Photo


In September 2012, husbands Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere (pictured above) sued the Public Advocate of the United States — a Virginia-based conservative political group — for using their personal engagement photo in an anti-gay mailer targeting two 2012 Colorado “Republican state legislative candidates who lost their primary races.”

WeddingU.S. District Court Judge Wiley Daniel ruled against Edwards’ claim that the postcard was an “unlawful appropriation of [‘his] name and likeness,” and said that the political group had the legal right to non-commercially use the couple’s photo in addressing a matter of legitimate public concern (same-sex marriage) under the First Amendment.

However, the Judge Daniel also ruled that “the gay New Jersey couple and their photographer — have a plausible copyright infringement claim’… [since] Neither they nor their photographer, Kristina Hill, gave permission for their engagement photograph to be used.”

The mailer's creators deleted the photo's original background of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn Bridge and added the Colorado landscape to give the mailer local appeal. The Southern Poverty Law Center (who filed the suit on the gay couple’s behalf) lists the Public Advocate of the United States as an active anti-LGBT hate group.

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  1. I feel really sad for these guys to have their sweet, loving picture stolen and used to promote hate.

    Posted by: Chadd | Apr 1, 2014 8:56:51 PM

  2. This case really shows how lowwwwww, mean, hateful and dirty these right wingers will go.....and then, in the next breath state they are Christian, they love gay people.......

    Posted by: Bernie | Apr 1, 2014 9:09:40 PM

  3. Arg - then I hope the couple comes back with a copyright claim and cleans them out!

    Posted by: Beetlejuice | Apr 1, 2014 10:20:38 PM

  4. Copyright infringement is a much easier claim to make. The defendants essentially have to prove their innocence.

    Religion is full of frausters that prey on the weak minded.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 2, 2014 8:46:44 AM

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