As the first anniversary of Oregon's same-sex marriage policy approached, national news outlets (even The Oregonian) began releasing stories about an ad campaign by ultra-rightwing lobbying group USA Next. With an internet ad, the campaign intended to smear the AARP, which has recently spoken out against the Bush administration's plan to privatize Social Security. Designed by the folks behind Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, part of the ad features a photo of two men in tuxes sharing a kiss; the implication being that AARP is pro-same-sex marriage.
But what the news stories (yes, even The Oregonian) have failed to mention is that the photo is of Portlanders Ricky Raymen and Steve Hansen, taken on their wedding day (March 3, 2004--congratulations guys!), and was apparently "borrowed" from the Portland Tribune without permission from either the couple or the Tribune--a clear violation of the law on several counts.
According to Virginia Meyers, who handles photo sales for the Tribune, the photo was never sold to USA Next, and wouldn't have been authorized without model release forms signed by Raymen and Hansen. The Tribune is currently attempting to find the person responsible for designing the ad at USA Next.
As for the unhappy couple, they didn't return requests for comment, but a recent post by Raymen on the Daily Kos blog suggested they would be spending their anniversary seeking a separate legal action against USA Next. SCOTT MOORE
Encouraged by the victory of Measure 36, the bigots are trying to push gay and lesbian rights back even further during the current legislative session in Salem. State Senator Gary George (R-McMinnville) and Rep. Mac Sumner (R-Molalla) are pushing S.B. 799, a bill that would ban not only same-sex marriages but also civil unions.
An equally nefarious bill is working its way through the House. Sponsored by Gresham-based representative John Lim, H.B. 2401 would demand that married (heterosexual) couples be given preference over same-sex couples when an adoption is being considered.
Join Basic Rights Oregon on Thursday, March 3 to lobby at the state capitol in Salem. To hook up with a carpool, check out: basicrights.org. PB