A Canadian couple have won a court case against a right-wing Italian populist party, after it used their newborn baby’s photo as part of a campaign against surrogacy for same-sex parents.
But the photographer, who had her case dismissed, has been left struggling to pay court fees.
BJ Barone and Frank Nelson welcomed their son Milo – born via a surrogate in Ontario – into the world in June 2014, during Pride weekend.
The couple had the moment captured by local photographer Lindsay Foster, in photos that later went viral across social media.
In 2016, the image was used, without permission, in campaign against surrogacy for same-sex parents, by the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy).
The Fratelli d’Italia is led by Giorgia Meloni, who became Italy’s first female prime minister in October and has formed the most-right-wing government Italy has seen in decades.
Foster told CBC News: “It was upsetting to know that there was a political party sharing this photo in such a negative way, for their hate propaganda against gays and surrogacy.”
She, Barone and Foster took the political party to court following over its use of the photo, and, in May, the couple were awarded the equivalent of more than $14,000 Canadian (£8,000) each.
However, photographer Foster is less pleased about the outcome.
“My copyright infringement fight was thrown out by the judge and, because it got thrown out, I have to pay the Fratelli d’Italia’s court fees.”
The photographer said she would have to work for months to cover the cost, but a friend, Stuart Seemungal launched a GoFundMe to help, and the target of $8,000 Canadian (£4,700) has almost been reached thanks to more than 130 donations.
Speaking to CBS News about the moment Foster captured the birth of Milo, Nelson said: “I’ll never forget the love I felt and, luckily for us, it was captured by Lindsay in the most beautiful photo I’ve ever seen.
“Overall, there were a lot of positive comments from people congratulating us. Then, of course, you have all of the haters out there, spewing their hate [from] behind computer screens and saying very mean things things to us and about Milo.”
The couple’s win comes as the Italian government launches fresh attacks on same-sex parenting and lesbian mums.
In an exclusive interview with PinkNews, a lesbian mother told of how she has been left devastated by the removal of her name from her baby’s birth certificate, prompting her to call on the Italian government to “think of the families [left living in] fear”.
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