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Published in: May-June 2005 issue.


When All Else Fails…  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so it was that proponents of Social Security privatization resorted to attacking skeptics of the scheme by linking them to—are you ready?—same-sex marriage. You could play Find-the-Fit from here to Chicago to make the connection, but here goes: One of the most powerful lobbies in Washington is of course the AARP, which happens to oppose the privatization scheme. So the thing to do was to discredit the AARP by running TV ads similar to the infamous “Swift Boat” ads used against John Kerry in the 2004 election. So they hired an outfit called USA Next that included most of the “Swift Boat” creators. But how to attack a venerable, nonpartisan organization whose members include a majority of the nation’s seniors? Claim the group has a “liberal, activist agenda” and say it supports gay marriage, how else? And don’t be deterred by the fact that the AARP officially takes no position on this issue; didn’t the group’s Ohio affiliate oppose that state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage last fall? Well, yes… And that’s it, all they needed to make the link. Okay, they needed one more thing: a juicy photo of a same-sex wedding. So they trolled the Internet and found a random photo of two Oregon men getting hitched and proceeded to blast it over the airwaves. Long story short: the couple saw the ad and now they’ve launched a 25 million dollar lawsuit against USA Next for unlawful use of their image.

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