Ex-gay group targets blogger with cease and desist; ACLU intervenes

RAW STORY
Published: Wednesday March 22, 2006

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A man who posted a parody of an ad promoting "ex-gay" program Exodus International has been served with a cease-and-desist, RAW STORY has learned. The ACLU plans to intervene on the man's behalf.

Justin Watt, a blogger from Santa Rosa, CA, says he was "deeply offended" by an Exodus billboard that read, "Gay? Unhappy? www.exodus.to." The ministry believes that it can cure people of homosexuality, thus giving them a happier life. Watt digitally altered an image of the billboard on his website (Justinsomnia.org) to read, "Straight? Unhappy? www.gay.com."

Attorneys representing Exodus sent Watt a cease-and-desist letter earlier this month, claiming he had violated their intellectual property rights. The group threatened legal action if the parodies were not removed. At that point, the American Civil Liberties Union was called to intervene.

Ann Brick, an attorney with the ACLU, says that Watt's parody is protected First Amendment speech. "His point was to make a comment on a very important issue he has strongly held beliefs about: that Exodus's tactics are wrong, that there's nothing wrong with being gay, and that being gay doesn't make you unhappy."

No mainstream medical or psychiatric group believes that homosexuality is a psychological disorder.