CommunityPam's House Blend

Hope this empties USA Next's coffers


Using this picture in its anti-AARP ad could cost USA Next $25 million. Beautiful.

[UPDATE: After I posted this I saw that John Aravosis at AmericaBlog is representing the couple that is suing USA Next. John’s press release on the action is here. That is most excellent!]

I love this. The gay Portland couple whose wedding picture was hijacked for wingnut propaganda by USA Next, has slapped the organization with a lovely lawsuit in federal court. (365Gay.com):

M. Raymen and Steven P. Hansen are seeking $25 million in damages. The ad, by USA Next, is attacking the AARP for opposing the Bush administration’s proposed changes to Social Security and attempts to “discredit” the organization by suggesting it supports gay marriage and opposes the war in Iraq.

The AARP has come under fire from conservatives for opposing President Bush’s call for Social Security reform. The ad was produced for USA Next by Mark Montini International, Montini is a GOP strategist and chief executive officer of CampaignSecrets.com.

Last week USA Next and Montini admitted they did not have legal rights to the picture of Raymen and Hansen. The couple married last year during Portland’s brief attempt to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The suit names both USA Next and Montini and alleges that the use of the couple’s image without permission constituted an invasion of privacy, was libelous, violated their right of publicity and constituted an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“Our privacy and personal integrity were violated when our wedding photo was stolen and used to portray us as treasonous, unpatriotic, and a threat to American troops,” Raymen said Wednesday. “We have been harassed and humiliated by this hateful ad campaign and by the bigotry and anger it has generated against us nationwide.”

“Our lawsuit is intended to make USA Next and Mark Montini pay for the harm they have caused and to send a message to them that they cannot recklessly play with peoples’ reputations and make them targets of hate, as they have done with us,” Raymen said. “When we get our judgment, we intend to donate to those who fight the kind of hate and homophobia that USA Next and Montini have demonstrated.”

Guess that little bit of GOP dirty tricks business backfired. 🙂

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding