Anti-gay minister loses web appeal

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Notoriously anti-gay televangelist Jerry Falwell lost a Supreme Court appeal yesterday of a case that sought to shut down a web site with a similar name but opposing views on gay rights.

In the appeal, Mr Falwell claimed a gay man from New York City improperly draws attention to his site by using a common misspelling of his name as the site’s domain name.

A federal judge first sided with the preacher on the grounds that Christopher Lamparello’s domain name was nearly identical to the trademark bearing Mr Falwell’s name and could confuse Web surfers.

Mr Falwell’s web site is primarily for his Virgina based ministries. According to the Associated Press, the site is more high-tech, with pictures of the minister, and sales material for books and videos.

In contrast, Mr Lamparello’s Web site is mainly in black and white, with no photographs or items for sale. On the site, he claims the minister is wrong in preaching that gay people are sinners who can change.

A disclaimer that runs along the top of Mr Lamparello’s site reads: “This Web site is NOT affiliated with Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell or his ministry.”

This is not the first time Mr Falwell’s attorneys have fought over domain names. According to AP, three years ago, an Illinois man surrendered the domain names and when the reverend threatened a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

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