Don't Stop the ACLU

Friday, March 24, 2006

Got gay?

Parody of the ridiculous has long been an effective method of making the ridiculous look even more ridiculous. If the parody itself does not accomplish this, the parodied party's indignant - and often preposterous - reaction usually does. Rather than having a chuckle at their own expense and letting the parody roll off their backs, targets of parody too often resort to litigation.

Case in point: the parody shown in the picture, which was created by Santa Rosa, Calif., blogger Justin Watt. Last September, after spotting an anti-gay billboard erected by Exodus International, a Christian nonprofit whose stated mission is to "... provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality," Watt created his amusing and poignant parody and posted it on his blog.

Fast-forward six months to March 2, 2006, when Watt received a cease-and-desist letter from lawyers representing Exodus, who claimed that Watt's use of their image violated copyright law. ACLU lawyers were soon on the case and sent a detailed response to Exodus's lawyers, explaining that Mr. Watt's parody is protected by the First Amendment, citing, among other laws, section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, which regards fair use of copyrighted material. Fortunately, the issue will never reach court, since earlier today, Exodus unceremoniously dropped its case against Watt.

Even though the issue in this case was one of free speech and not gay rights, this episode highlights a dangerous attitude that is prevalent in our society even in the year 2006. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, too many Americans believe that homosexuality is a disease, a choice, or a perversion. What's worse is that this belief is put into practice, and rights enjoyed by the heterosexual majority are denied to LGBT citizens. As far as we've come in the area of civil rights, our government still blatantly discriminates against a significant portion of the population based on an archaic notion of normality. For more on the ongoing fight to protect gay rights, please visit the ACLU website.
posted by Maj. M.T. Rational XXXIV at 7:18 PM


Anonymous Justin Watt said...

Thanks for the love. Nice commentary. One small act of resistence at a time. Eventually it should add up.

March 25, 2006 3:23 AM  

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