Gay couple suing Republicans for using their wedding photo in anti-gay attack ad
A gay couple are suing the Tennessee Republican Party – over an anti-gay attack ad that used a photo from their wedding.
Shane Morgan and husband Landon were stunned to see pictures from their special day used as part of a leaflet attack ad paid for by the state GOP.
The ad targets Gayle Jordan, a friend of the pair who is running for Tennessee Senate District 14 as a Democrat, by sharing a photo of her officiating the wedding.
It claims that she will “destroy the fabric of American society”, making reference to a joke she made on social media parodying anti-gay activists.
The couple’s faces are blurred in the ad, but Mr Morgan – a combat veteran with PTSD, who served in the military during a ban on openly gay soldiers – says it has “ruined” their memories of the special day.
He told NBC: “To take a very special moment from our wedding, and to use it as a smear campaign against an opponent… it hurts very much.
“To see our picture on our wedding day being used in such a vile manner… it’s taken that special moment and ruined it. Ruined it.”
He insisted the ad was a clear dog-whistle homophobic smear by linking Jordan to their same-sex wedding.
Mr Morgan said: “I think they knew what they were doing.”
He added that the attacks had taken their toll. He said: “My PTSD is now even worse. Don’t use people’s private, personal pictures to smear your opponent.
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The couple, who have been together for nine years, are now preparing a lawsuit against the party for breach of privacy.
But the Tennessee GOP denied that the ad was intended as a homophobic attack.
It claimed that the mailer is only meant to highlight Jordan’s comment on social media – despite the prominent photo of the wedding, which takes up nearly half the leaflet.
A party spokesperson told NBC that “the comment is very serious, even if made in jest, and the mailer doesn’t have anything to do with the gay couple, or have anything negative to say about them.”