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Gay couple ‘livid’ over use of engagement photo in anti-gay political mailer

Friday, June 29, 2012

MONTCLAIR, N.Y. — A married same-sex couple in New Jersey said they are considering legal action against an anti-gay advocacy group for using an altered version of their engagement photograph in a anti-gay political mailer.

Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere said they were shocked to learn that their photograph was copied and used by Loudon County, Virginia, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s anti-gay advocacy group, “Public Advocate Of The United States.”

The photo, taken two years during a photo shoot celebrating the couple’s engagement, was altered and used in political attack mailers against candidates in at least two Colorado legislative races.

Altered image of Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere used in anti-gay mailers.

Courtesy: Kristina Hill Photography

Original engagement photo of Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere.

Edwards and Privitere said use of their photo “is unjust and we promise that we will do what we can to make sure it doesn’t occur to other couples in the future, regardless of sexual orientation.”

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,” Edwards wrote on the couple’s wedding blog.

“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…

“Now I see it faded and brown with a big red, blood-emulating slash across our bodies. It cuts us in half just below our hearts. How do I feel? I’m in shock and I’m angry and I’m hurt and I’m flabbergasted and I’m livid.”

The Denver Post noted that Delgaudio defended using the photo, alleging that other individuals and groups have used his group’s [Public Advocate] copyrighted images.

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

“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.”

According to the Post, the mailers targeted Republicans Jean White and Jeff Hare, both of whom lost in Colorado’s Tuesday primary elections.

“Public Advocate of The United States” was recently designated as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Edwards and Privitere said they have reached out to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Lamba Legal for assistance.

Update, 6/30/12: The couple reports that, after a couple days of phone conversations, Lambda Legal told them they would not pursue their case. “There is still no word from GLAAD despite our voicemail and two emails.”

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Filed under: New Jersey

39 more reader comments:

  1. oooo my god, herendous.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:55pm
  2. As they should be!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:55pm
  3. they look so cute tho.. <3

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:55pm
  4. Go for it!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:55pm
  5. sue their pants off!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:57pm
  6. The only way to stop these idiots is the sue them. FOR all their money. They should consider they should move on to FULL legal action.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:57pm
  7. I would be suing someones ass! I have to get signed consent before I can use anyone’s photo.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:58pm
  8. i would be as well! using a joyous day and occasion to gin up the hate in their misguided and trifling followers!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:58pm
  9. CONSIDERING legal action? Oh hell no, they’d be getting sued. Period.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:58pm
  10. They should be livid. I hope they sue and win a gazillion bucks. Now THAT would be a great payback! :D

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:00pm
  11. sue, sue, sue!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:01pm
  12. Lawsuit! Big, honkin’ lawsuit!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:03pm
  13. Yehy should be very upset and if it were me I know I’d be suing for sure!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:04pm
  14. DISLIKE.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:04pm
  15. not sure the headline should be “Gay couple” livid same sex couple?

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:05pm
  16. Sue them!!!! How dare they!!!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:09pm
  17. what a fine wedding gift to provide a slam dunk law suit for them to both profit and set back antigay propaganda. :D

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:12pm
  18. CONSIDERING ?????

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:13pm
  19. There has to be some legal recourse. This is outrageous

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:13pm
  20. @nickie. all that really needs to be said is ‘couple livid after photo used in anti-gay political mailer’. people just love the use of stereotypical words to catch the attention of others.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:15pm
  21. thats really messed up

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:24pm
  22. wtf!!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:30pm
  23. They need to sue.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 5:36pm
  24. Hell yeah, they should Sue! This is totally unnecessary, outrageous and cruel! The asshole(s) responsible had No right! This is even scary…If it happened to them…who else has been or will be a victim of this trash?!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:14pm
  25. II understand their anger, but unfortunately whether or not they can sue successfully is going to depend on where and how the photo was originally published and under what license. If it was (say) put up on Flickr, there may not have been any restrictions on use. Or at most an ‘attribution-required’ license (which could still be useful in prosecuting them. Tricky.

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:28pm
  26. Very Rude

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:34pm
  27. considering legal action?

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:41pm
  28. Defacing and defamation of character! Sue em!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:05pm
  29. I would be outraged! I would seek legal counsel for sure!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:09pm
  30. the reason they may be considering action and not going ahead with it.. is who owned the photo? If someone else owned the photo and gave permission, they may have no case… either way, I would sue the crap out of them. LOL

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:11pm
  31. It is disgraceful to ruin a photo that shows love, I hope the couple wins their battle and if not…the same should be done to those who posted it. A taste of there own ignorance!

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:19pm
  32. Hopefully you can use the same to counter it…

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:44pm
  33. hi, this is a new page for all l;gbt comunity, we are growing but we count on you to grow even faster and get bigger. visit, like and share it. be part of it :) thankyou facebook.com/glbtworld

    Posted on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11:36pm
  34. holy helll would someone please shoot one of these anti gay political leaders allready?

    Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:11am
  35. I would sue for royalties!

    Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:18am
  36. Massive royalties

    Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:18am
  37. I would ask how much is the company worth? Then ask for that amount make the bankrupt.

    Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:21am
  38. Sue his pants off!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:28am
  39. Yes. Yes, that IS my idea of family values. Because love is love, and children grow best environment of love and acceptance, regardless of who their parents are or what gender their parents are. It changes nothing. And to have one of their happiest moments in their romantic lives turned against them is horrendous and disgusting.
    They shouldn’t be considering legal action. They should be taking it. Fuck all those people in that company responsible for that logo.

    Posted on Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 9:30am