Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere’s engagement photos appeared on the other side of the country, in the most unexpected place. The couple, who lives in New Jersey, took their engagement photos with a New York City backdrop and found out months after their wedding that their photo appeared in an attack political mailer in Colorado, put together by a group called the Public Advocate of the United States. The mailer, which was Photoshopped to have a snowy background, said, “State Senator Jean White’s Idea of ‘Family Values?’” Essentially, Edwards and Privitere’s image was unwittingly used to suggest that gay people do not represent adequate family values.


“When I took this photo, I was capturing the love that Brian and Tom share,” said the photographer Kristina Hill. “When I saw how my image was used, I was sad for Brian and Tom. I was angry that someone would take my work, distort it and use it to reflect the opposite of what it was meant to express.”

In response, Edwards and Privitere contacted the Southern Poverty Law Center, which listed Public Advocate of the United States as a hate group, and a cease-and-desist letter was sent to the group on behalf of the couple and photographer Hill. The letter says that the SPLC is looking into the use of the copyrighted photo and demands that the group stop using the photo.

“Delgaudio’s use of Brian and Tom’s personal photo is morally reprehensible,” said Christine P. Sun, deputy legal director for the SPLC in a press release. “For years, Delgaudio and Public Advocate have led a crusade against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. This latest attack is the most vicious yet and should serve as a warning that your personal photos are not safe from anyone willing to stoop to the vilest level of harassment.”


Photo: Kristina Hill Photography