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Gay Couple Sues Conservative Group Over Use of Their Kissing Photo

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Altered Photo for Public Advocate Mailer

Altered Photo for Public Advocate Mailer

An anti-gay group has allegedly misappropriated a gay couple’s engagement photograph for its political mailers, according to a new lawsuit.

The couple, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is suing Public Advocate of the United States in federal court and seeks damages for the misappropriation of their likenesses and for mental distress and anguish over the use of the photos.

In 2010, Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere posted one of their favorite engagement shots taken by photographer Kristina Hill to their blog, which was dedicated to their wedding. The couple were lip-locked in a kiss in front of the Manhattan skyline.

This year, however, an altered version of that photo showed up in materials produced by Public Advocate, an organization that has been classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Before the filing of the lawsuit, Edwards wrote about the experience of discovering the altered photo at the Huffington Post.

One of the political mailers in question has the altered photo with a banner across it that states, “State Senator Jean White’s Idea of ‘Family Values?’” Gone is the Manhattan skyline and inserted are snow-covered trees—Sen. White is from Colorado and has supported legislation that would allow civil unions for homosexual couples in Colorado.

Another similar mailer targeted Republican candidate for an open seat in the Colorado state house, Jeffrey Hare.

Hill, the photographer, says she was never asked for permission to use the photo and had not granted permission or a license to do so; the photo is not attributed to Hill anywhere on the mailers. Hill is also a plaintiff in the case and seeks damages for copyright infringement.

What do you think of this lawsuit? Or about the Public Advocate’s use of the photo?

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September 29th, 2012 at 8:48 am