A online dating company was forced to rework its politically-charged ads aimed at promoting gay and lesbian relationships, and believes its controversial billboard depictions of figures like Mitt Romney and Donald Trump were likely to blame.
The BeautifulPeople dating website took advantage of President Barack Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage in May by offering a version of its website that specifically targets homosexuals. For its billboards, it wanted to use two highly political ads – one that shows Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and billionaire Donald Trump getting married by Obama, and another that shows former GOP candidate and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann kissing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, with Obama once again playing the role of an officiant.
"This is a national campaign championing equal rights for the LGBT community and pledging support in a colorful way," explained Greg Hodge, BeautifulPeople's Managing Director. "Through a humorous campaign we wanted to showcase how many of our political heavyweights are living in the last century."
It was not immediately known why the ads were blocked in California, although the state is in the middle of a major gay marriage debate. Proposition 8, before being overturned, had placed a ban on same-sex marriages in the state. The measure is currently headed to the Supreme Court with pro-traditional family groups hoping to have the measure re-instated.
After the company was told it will not be allowed to put up the billboards with the present ads, it decided to censor the ads itself, removing the actual likeness of the political figures but keeping their silhouettes.
The billboards are now up across several locations in Los Angeles and West Hollywood – and the censored images are available on the company's website and for mobile phones in New York City.
BeautifPeople.com has promised to donate 15 percent of every gay and lesbian membership on its website to a non-profit organization aiming to change the legal definition of marriage to include homosexual couples.