NOM Uses Pro-Gay Russian Photographer In Latest Antigay Meme

Before using a photographer's images to oppose same-sex marriage, NOM should probably take a look at the artist's portfolio.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

July 07 2014 3:53 PM ET

The National Organization for Marriage's digital media team might want to dig a little deeper when searching for stock photography to help promote the organization's antigay agenda, as the group's latest attempt to tout the "sanctity" of "traditional" marriage uses an image from a Russian photographer who includes same-sex couples in his portfolio. 

Jeremy Hooper at Good as You uncovered the error after NOM shared the image above on its Facebook page, emblazoned with a quote from the antigay group Concerned Women for America claiming, "Marriage does not need to be redefined it needs to be underlined."

Aside from noting the ironic focus on punctuation in text that doesn't actually include much in the way of necessary commas or periods, Hooper discovered that the image NOM used comes from Russian photographer Ruslan Grigoriev, the bulk of whose homepage on a Russian stock photo site features images of smiling, shirtless young men kissing, hugging, and even groping each other. 

"Add it all up and you get NOM's latest argle-bargle-laden attempt at a meme," writes Hooper, referencing Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia's dissent in the landmark case U.S. v. Windsor, where the justice dismissed the majority's reasoning striking down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act as "legalistic argle-bargle."

This latest gaffe comes after a rough Pride Month for the antigay group, which not only saw two additional states embrace marriage equality, including Oregon, where NOM had filed a last-minute bid to intervene in defense of the state's now-defunct discriminatory marriage law, but also saw courts rule in favor of the freedom to marry in Utah, Kentucky, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, county and city officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of statewide bans on marriage equality in Colorado and Missouri

And shortly before NOM's much-hyped March for Marriage descended on Washington, D.C., with a meager 2,000 attendees June 19, a federal court issued a scathing ruling dismissing NOM's claims of persecution by the Internal Revenue Service. Although the IRS ultimately settled the suit — agreeing to pay NOM $50,000 — a federal judge said NOM had "produced no evidence" that the accidental disclosure of the group's donors' names to an activist who requested other publicly available information represented "willfulness or gross negligence."

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