Settlement Reached in Federal Lawsuit Involving Same-Sex Photo

Eugene Delgaudio, Loudoun County supervisor and head of Public Advocate, sparked headlines in 2012 when his organization manipulated a same-sex couple's private engagement photo to use on anti-gay marraige campaign flyers.

Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s conservative advocacy group has reached a settlement with the same-sex couple that alleged it illegally used their private engagement photograph in a campaign.

The settlement was announced Thursday in a statement by Delgaudio’s organization, Public Advocate. The photographer was paid $2,501 to settle the remaining copyright claim, the Washington Post reports.

The original photograph of New Jersey couple Tom Privitere and Brian Edwards, taken by photographer Kristina Hill, showed the two kissing in front of the New York City skyline. An altered version of the image, with a snowy background and a red banner with the words, “State Senator Jean White’s Idea of ‘Family Values?’” was distributed on flyers mailed out to citizens of Colorado to attack a candidate who supported same-sex civil unions.

The lawsuit alleged use of the image constitutes a misappropriation of the couple’s likeness and violated federal copyright law. U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel the altered photo “reasonably relates to a matter of legitimate public concern: same sex marriage,” and dismissed the misappropriation claim in his order.

Daniel later said the couple and the photographer could have a possible copyright infringement claim, even though the photo was not used commercially.

Public Advocate was designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group in 2012 and Delgaudio has previously attacked airport pat-down procedures and anti-bullying legislation. Sterling voters have issued a recall petition to remove Delgaudio from his position on the Loudoun County board of supervisors. The case will be heard by the Loudoun County Circuit Court June 24.


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