A gay Tennessee couple, one of whom served in the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” has hired an attorney after the Republican party in the state used their wedding photo in a political ad mailer aimed at smearing Democrat Gayle Jordan, who is running for State Senate and who officiated their wedding.
The Republican Party in Tennessee lifted Shane Morgan and his husband Landon’s wedding photo from Jordan’s Facebook page, where she posted a photo she took with the couple after officiating their wedding with the tongue-in-cheek caption, “Doing my best to destroy the fabric of American society,” according to the WSMV in Nashville.
Morgan, an Air Force veteran who suffers from PTSD, who was forced to remain closeted until “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed in 2010, said that the ad paid for by the Tennessee Republican Party that uses the photo of his wedding day to attack an opponent has cast a pall over the moment.
"After being together for nine years, we have a bond," Morgan said about his husband. Morgan said, adding that being able to legally wed meant “more than words can say.”
"To see our picture on our wedding day being used in such a vile manner, it's taken that special moment and ruined it," Morgan said. "Ruined it. Very hurt. Very hurt."
The faces of the couple are slightly blurred in the photo so as to hide their identity but Morgan said that he and his husband are still easily recognizable in the mailer.
A representative for the Tennessee Republican Party told WSMV that the party lifted Jordan’s photo from her Facebook page only to highlight her remark—which turns the ridiculousness of antigay conservatives’ words back on them—when she joked that she was ruining the “fabric of American society” by officiating a gay wedding. The rep said that the party has nothing against Morgan and his husband. But Morgan said that those who created the ad knew exactly what they were doing.
Morgan and his husband hired attorney Sunny Eaton in response to the attack ad. She has said that her clients were exploited for political purposes.
"I'm under a lot of stress, and with my PTSD, it's just flaring up even worse," Morgan said. "I hate it. Don't use people's private personal pictures to smear your opponent."