Hate Group Swipes NYC Couple’s Photo For Anti-Gay Ad In CO

Each week, Queerty picks one blowhard, hypocrite, airhead, sanctimonious prick or other enemy of all that is queer to be the Douche of the Week.

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When models sign photo releases, they never know where their likenesses will end up. But Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere of New York never agreed to let anyone else use their wedding photo—certainly not the right-wing hate group The Public Advocate of the United States.

The Public Advocate, a DC-based organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, found a cute picture of the guys smooching on their big day on Edwards’ blog, the Gay Wedding Experience, and thought it’d be a great way to scare voters in Colorado against voting for State Sen. Jean White, who supports civil unions for gay couples.

They stole the photo—Phtoshopping the couple into a more alpine setting to boot—and sent it out to thousands as part of a mailer. Edwards and Privitere only found out through an old college friend who saw the repurposed image in an article on the election.

On his blog, Edwards spoke from the heart about how this misappropriation has disturbed the couple:

First off, 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 long-term 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…

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.

And, I can’t help but feel the need to warn other LGBT couples that hey, even after you overcome your fears of coming out to your families and friends and coworkers; even after you graduate and leave that hellhole of a high school, where every single day you feared for your life; even after all the letters to your senators and the countless marches that eventually won you and your state the marriage equality you deserve; even after you find your soul mate, get engaged and then married… someone, a stranger, will seek out your image on the internet, perhaps on a site like this one which was created to document our journey down the aisle with the hopes that our experiences would benefit other LGBT couples… steal it and use it in an attempt to destroy others who support you.

I tell you what – I never saw that coming, would you?

Don’t worry friends – this is not the end of this story.

According to the Denver Post, the Public Advocate doesn’t think it’s done anything wrong, even though the photo is copyrighted. Their basic argument is “everyone does it.”

Eugene Delgaudio, told the Post, “Other groups make fair use of our materials or [and the] 2,000 photos from our website under these broad principles of political education.”

All together now: What a douche!

And, hey, if you’re an attorney who specializes in copyright infringement, give the guys a hand in sticking to the Public Advocate.

Original Photo: Kristina Hill Photography