Friday, March 30, 2007

Did MassResistance Break the Law?

MassResistance, a homophobic radio show and a rabid group of hate-mongerers, apparently have a peculiar hobby - one that's potentially illegal. Here's the alleged story,
Once again [MassResistance is] attending meetings of the Massachusetts Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. Now supposedly they are not gay or lesbian nor are they youth so why are they attending? I'd guess it's because of their gay and lesbian photo fetish, after all, they did bring their cameras.... For the life of me I still don't get how they think posting pictures of attractive, happy GLBT people is going to SHOCK their viewers.

Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I do know it's illegal for people to take pictures of minors and post them publicly - at least, a newspaper couldn't take a picture of a 13 year old boy and post it in the newspaper without parental consent. So, is what MassResistance is reportedly doing illegal? Enquiring minds want to know.

Update: Apparently, the authorities have already been alerted. Even MassResistance has admitted* that the Attorney General is looking into it, but if the AG attempts to shut them down, they recklessly said "go ahead, make our day." Please, Martha Coakley, feel free to make it. After all, they posted pictures of a transgenered teenage male - calling him a "female with sideburns" - and posted a picture with that person's name and description. This, when violence against transgendered people is a serious concern.

*Please don't follow the link to MassResistance, I don't want to give them the traffic. The only reason why I even linked it to begin with is because it's a serious matter and it's important to show where these allegations can be answered for those who want to know more. Accountability is something I understand, even if MassResistance doesn't. Hopefully the authorities will quickly make sure MassRestistance ceases and desists from posting pictures of minors - especially those who are particularly at risk to cruel violence, merely for being a little different.


Mass Marrier said...

Laws? They don't need no stinkn' laws!

They should be more concerned about civil action for their slurs and likely defamation of numerous activists and others. Their allegations are outrageous.

Tom Lang said...

I hope that there are not restrictions placed on photographing minors at public events, unless we make it illegal for minors to attend public events.

The public forum needs to remain just that--public! I have photographed minors who were used by VoteOnMarriage at rallies opposing my rights and posted them on KnowThyNeighbor. At the advice of my lawyer, I " X X"ed out their eyes, but that is not the point here.

I believe that the king and queen of despicable, Brian and Amy, have every right to photograph minors at a public event, if they make it clear that they are photographing them. We once posted a picture of an 8 year old holding a sign which read "No Gay Sex, No Gay Marriage" for obvious reasons (again with eyes crossed out. And once an even more disgusting photo of three toddlers being helpd from behind by their mothers in the sitting position. These toddlers were so young that they could not sit on their own but their mothers thought it was appropriate for the toddlers to be wearing large, "one man one woman" stickers.

So you see, we need to be able to photograph in the public forum as much as "the nasties" feel they need to do it. I love the Trevor Wright story however. We need to arm ourselves with cameras and videos wherever they are allowed and fight fire with fire.

Anonymous said...

I see now that the disdain for the law that the Bush Administration and the GOP ascribe to, has filtered down to its minions in our social structures. A belligerant emboldened mass effect akin to the valley girl syndrome has overtaken these Republicans. They are digging in their heels, not willing to be nudged from their illsionary standing of power. Blink first is the order of the day. We'll see, it's only at "check", let's see who "checkmates".

bostonph said...

Don't forget Brian Camenker has already been sued for illegally taping the "Teach-Out" at Tufts (they call it "FistGate."

I disagree about reading MassResistance, though. You can find out a lot of interesting things over there.

For example:

- John Howard (the "egg and sperm" guy") has reached out to them for help fighting same-sex conception. BMG readers may remember him as the source of David Kravtiz's proposal on the gay marriage vote.

John Howard, a Massachusetts activist pushing for legislation banning this frightening research, has reminded us of his blog on this subject. We encourage you to contact him if you're interested in promoting legislation to block this looming nightmare.

- Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation has appeared on the MassResistance radio show. CLT is officially neutral on gay marriage, but the CLT has put a lot of resources into the fight to force a vote and both Barbara and CLT member Cynthia Stead have written articles asking why gays need to take the word "marriage."

Segments 3 & 4: Barbara Anderson, of Citizens for Limited Taxation, talks about the new universal Health Care Reform Law passed by the Legislature & signed by Gov. Romney with great fanfare. Is it a great solution, or will it just another pie-in-the-sky program that will bankrupt the state?

It's not surprising that they're big fans of Jeff Jacoby and list HubPolitics and RedMassGroup in their blog role...

Anonymous said...

A million years ago, I was a newspaper photographer. After that, I worked as a TV news producer for 13 years. Trust me, there is no law against taking photos or video of anyone (minor or not) in a public place. Not even if you intend to publish or broadcast those pictures. A lot of people seem to think that there is some law like that-- we got angry calls along those lines often enough-- but there just isn't.

Think about it: how many times have you see video of happy young fans during the broadcast of a football game? Or video of kids getting off a school bus during a news story about school funding, or whatever?

All perfectly legal. Now, in this case, it's nasty, to be sure, but still legal so long as the context in which the pics are disseminated is not libelous or defamatory.

Anonymous said...

Inquiring is spelled with an "I" not an "E"

anon said...

they're probably doing this to gain attention, as most of these antigay groups are getting desperate with ways to incite gays into reacting to their attacks.

Anonymous said...

Anon 406, if that's true then why do you see video on TV with people in the background blurred out? Because those people didn't sign the release forms, that's why. I've been photographed at public events, and afterwards the photographer has tracked me down to get my name. A huge group shot at a rally or in a stadium is one thing, but an individual ahot where the person is clearly identifiable is something else.

tom, I have to disagree. It's fine to take pictures, but you shouldn't be able to publish someone else's picture in a public forum without their permission, especially a minor. Are your pictures really worth the death threats that Brian and Amy's pictures are going to cause these kids to face from strangers with their contact information made public? Your lawyer told you to X out their eyes for a good reason. (And frankly, while I certainly don't think it's good for parents to encourage their kids to hate, I can't say I've never seen a baby wearing a button or sticker, pro choice, whatever, at a rally, when I was a kid my dad was agitating outside the State House and I held a sign, parents take their kids to rallies, so what--that's not that great a reason to photograph strangers' kids imo).

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of a law which outlaws photographing minors in a public long as the photos are not used in a commercial publication. (Except if the photos were to be judged as child porn).
If that were true...just about every photo taken on a public street would be illegal.
Photo magazines such as Popular Photo have had recent articles on what you may or may not take photos of.
If you are insecure in your sexuality and don't want to be outed...there is really only one recourse and that is not to attend a public outdoor gathering where you could be photographed.
The Homeland Security 'Laws' have become so commonly used...that you now have to be careful about taking a picture from your apartment window (are you a sniper?)...try to take a picture of a plane at an airport and you are going to spend the rest of the day proving your innocence!
If the photographer has blurred out faces in a public photo it probably is to keep from being sued and wasting time in court waiting for the charges to be dropped.
I guess the final step will be that no recognizable face will be allowed in any photo in the US.
We,all, will be down to doing photos of puppies and tulips.

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