Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
The Southern Poverty Law Center has been ordered by a federal court judge to conceal in case filings the home address of Eugene Delgaudio, an opponent in a legal case, after court documents revealed the man suspected of shooting one person at the Family Research Council headquarters also had been seen at Delgaudio’s office.
The recent ruling comes from Kathleen M. Tafaya, a U.S. magistrate in a Colorado lawsuit over the use of an image of a homosexual couple in a campaign mailing last year.
Delgaudio is president of Public Advocate of the United States, a nonprofit organization that works in court cases, in news conferences and in campaigns on behalf of conservative values and issues.
The judge’s order instructed SPLC to not publicize his home address because it could subject him to “politically motivated harassment, or even violence.”
Public Advocate, based in Falls Church, Va., was sued in Colorado by SPLC attorneys representing two homosexuals over Public Advocate’s mailings opposing state lawmakers who support homosexual marriage in Colorado.
As part of the litigation, Delgaudio stated, “SPLC attorneys recklessly posted the home address of Public Advocate’s president, Eugene Delgaudio, in a pleading that was available to the public as part of the record of the case.”
He explained that SPLC attorneys refused to remove the home address, so Public Advocate went to court for the order, which was granted recently by the judge.
Public Advocate has argued SPLC previously had labeled FRC an “anti-gay hate group” because of its opposition to homosexual marriage. Its brief also pointed out the potential danger, since FRC was labeled the same by SPLC, and its offices in Washington subsequently were attacked by “a homosexual activist” who shot and wounded a security officer.
The activist later was indicted for committing domestic terrorism.
But Public Advocate explained that the FBI warned its officials that the “shooter possessed a list of pro-family organizations he had obtained from the Internet, including FRC and Public Advocate.”
According to a report from Public Advocate, “Further, the FRC shooting had been seen at the Public Advocate’s office.”
It was FRC President Tony Perkins who pinpointed what he believed to be a contributing factor in the attack.
He said while the shooter “was responsible” for the shooting, I believe that he was given a license by a group such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, who … labeled us a hate group.”
“Although I am still concerned, as the president of an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an ‘anti-gay hate group,’ that my family and I are at risk from violence by certain deranged people who are inspired to such acts against persons that the SPLC is targeting, I am relieved that the court ordered that SPLC remove my home address from their filing in the Colorado litigation,” he said.
Delgaudio said SPLC lawyers had Public Advocate’s office address and phone number, and had no reason to reveal his home address.
“Yet, I was not surprised, as such practices are consistent with SPLC’s goal of intimidation of pro-family activists. SPLC attaches odious labels to persons or organizations with which they disagree, regardless of the effect such dangerous rhetoric may have on certain unbalanced people – like the domestic terrorist who attacked the FRC. I believe that such SPLC practices, at the very least, constitute reckless endangerment of pro-family leaders. If there is a category of hate-inciting groups, SPLC would top the list.”
The court order also said the home addresses of the plaintiffs in the dispute over the image also should be protected.
Delgaudio told WND that the larger case, over the issue of the campaign mailers, continues, and that his defense is based on the First Amendment as well as fair use practices.
The case was brought by Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere, who are kissing in an image used on a campaign mailing that opposed a state senator in Colorado that the Public Advocate said supported homosexual unions.
The image had been posted on a blog run by Edwards.
The motion filed on behalf of Public Advocate said the plaintiffs in the case had been citing the organization’s business offices, but “abruptly – and inconsistent with plaintiffs’ counsel’s effort to protect plaintiff’s privacy and with their practice of referring to Public Advocate’s business address … plaintiffs’ counsel unnecessarily published the home address of Public Advocate’s president, Eugene Delgaudio, on a certificate of service.”
The motion noted Delgaudio’s home was not even in the same Virginia county as the business office.
The motion said SPLC knew that “could expose his family to great personal danger.”
The attack on the FRC was carried out, allegedly, by Floyd Lee Corkins II, who went into the FRC building, told the security guard, “I don’t like your politics,” and opened fire.
Corkins was carrying 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches purchased at a store where Delgaudio had protested on behalf of the chain owner’s statements in support of biblical marriage, the motion said.
“That shooting spree is relevant to Public Advocate’ present motion because both Public Advocate and the Family Research Council have been labeled as ‘hate groups’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both pro-marriage groups can be found on the SPLC’s Hate Map,” the motion said.