A beautiful photo of two fathers tearfully embracing their newborn son has been stolen by anti-gay-parent groups.
In 2014, when Frankie Nelson and B.J. Barone met their son Milo for the first time, like all new parents, they were overwhelmed with emotion.
The moment was captured by photographer Lindsay Forster and quickly went viral, making headlines and eliciting messages of love and support across the world.
Milo was born via surrogate and the image was hailed as an intimate celebration of diversity – not all families have a mum and dad, after all.
The picture is doing the rounds again this week, but sadly for a different reason, disgustingly co-opted for homophobic propaganda.
Independent Irish politician Mary E. Fitzgibbon shared it on her now-private Twitter account, alongside a too-perfect-to-be-real photo of a heterosexual couple and their infant son.
She captioned it: “We must reaffirm the right of a child to grow up and be loved where possible by their own mother and father.”
If that weren’t more than enough bigoted dross for a happy family to endure of a weekend, the picture was then appropriated by Italian far right group Fratelli d’Italia and turned, uncredited, into a poster.
“He will never be able to say ‘mum’,” it read in Italian.
“We should be defending the rights of the children.”
The Canadian couple are apparently furious that their moment of love is now being used to push an agenda of hate and hit out at Fitzgibbon on social media.
“It was mostly about gay couples, men, having babies, because we’re [supposedly] denying the right of the child to have a mother,” Barone told the Star.
“Everything that we had stood for and we were fighting for… gay rights and rights for fathers to have children, now these photos are being used for the exact opposite.”
Barone said he tweeted back and forth with the politician, informing her that his son had “more than enough love” and even inviting her around to dinner.
“I said, ‘You know what? We’re more than happy for you to come here to Toronto so you can meet our family and see that…a child does not need to have a mother and a father.’”
The couple received hundreds of messages of support on social media, with other families sharing their own happy snaps in solidarity under the hashtag #wearefamily.
“Family is about love and we are going to keep on spreading that message,” B.J. said in a video message posted on his Twitter account.
They look pretty happy to us.
We don’t know about you, but we’re tired of this homophobic crap: