By: E&P Staff
An Oregon couple today filed a $25 million lawsuit against the group USANext, charging it with using without permission a photo of the two men kissing that appeared in the Portland Tribune.
USANext gained wide publicity in recent weeks for its attacks on the American Association of Retired People (AARP) for opposing President Bush’s privatization plans for Social Security.
An ad placed by USANext on the Web suggested that AARP favored gay marriage, connecting it to two men kissing. The two men, Rich Raymen and Steve Hansen, filed their lawsuit today.
“Our privacy and personal integrity were violated when our wedding photo was stolen,” Raymen said in a statement released today. “We have been harassed and humiliated by this hateful ad campaign and by the bigotry and anger it has generated against us nationwide.”
The suit names as defendants both USANext and the political consulting firm Mark Montini International, which created the ad.
Last week, Montini told E&P, “Unfortunately, it appears that the image was used in the ad without having been subjected to the final approval process that we use for the hundreds of other online and print ads we produce every year.” He said he tried to purchase the photo–after it had already been used and an uproar ensued–but was rebuffed by the Tribune.