This year’s political campaign was brutal. LGBT people, immigrants, minorities, the poor and women, who all have historical experience as political (and literal) punching bags, were made political pawns in the race to hate, specifically from the right. Two men who were unwittingly caught up in the hate race in the state of Colorado are suing.
In two very conservative districts, one in Northeastern Colorado and one in Northwestern Colorado, two Republican primary candidates found themselves under attack by a 501(c)(4) organization for not being hateful enough, at least toward LGBT people. The campaign, against state Senator Jean White and state House candidate, Jeffrey Hare, run by Public Advocate of the United States and featured two gay men kissing on their wedding day. Despite the fact that the men, Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere, were married in Brooklyn, in front of the Manhattan skyline, different skylines were photoshopped into the image and mailed to voters, implying that the image represented White’s and Hare’s family values. Here are the images via Westword:
The lawsuit is being spearheaded by the Southern Policy Law Center and one look at the website of the Public Advocate of the United States will give you a clue as to why the group that dedicates themselves to “fighting hate and bigotry” would want to get involved. Westword Googled the head of the group, Eugene Delgaudio, and found a description that he is fighting, “Liberals Tyrants Elitists Homosexuals Barack Obama pornography gay marriage same-sex marriage high taxes over-regulation.”
Westword also reported that Delgaudio’s group likely found the photo from a wedding blog of the couple. The New York Daily News featured an article about Senator White and the mailer that brought the photo to friends’ attentions.
Afterward, Edwards wrote the following on his blog:
“[The photo] 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 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.”
Both White and Hare lost their races. White blamed the loss on lies, saying, “The lies prevailed. His lies beat my truth. It shows that running an upright and honest campaign doesn’t necessarily win the day.” Even the revelation that her opponent, state Rep. Randy Baumgardner had a registered sex offender living in his home didn’t seem to sway Republican voters. White publicly supported civil unions.
Jeffrey Hare was likely defeated by the gun lobby as much as by the anti-marriage rights ad campaign.
The lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado and asks for monetary damages and profits for the photographer, Kristina Hill.