Amanda Liberty changed her name from Whittaker after falling in love with New York’s Statue of Liberty.
The spectrum of sexual orientations has certainly grown in recent years — in both specifics and social acceptability. According to The Guardian, however, British woman Amanda Liberty’s attraction to a 92-year-old German chandelier didn’t convince press regulator IPSO it warranted legal protection.
The 30-something resident of Leeds originally complained about an article in The Sun which mocked her for the unconventional relationship. According to The New York Post, Liberty purchased the light fixture on eBay for $500 — lovingly named Lumiere — and argued the article was offensive.
Liberty mainly objected to being included in columnist Jane Moore’s “Dagenham Award (Two Stops Past Barking)” prize in late 2019. She claimed the publisher breached the Ipso’s code of conduct, which specifically prohibits prejudiced or pejorative coverage of a person’s sexual orientation.
However, while she identifies as an “objectum sexual” — someone attracted to objects — the U.K.’s Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) ruled the regulation only applied to people.
Moore’s column was certainly unkind, as it awarded those she considered “dim.” For somebody in love with a lamp named Lumiere, of course, that’s quite ironic on its own terms. Liberty also argued The Sun was an inaccurate publication as it claimed she was married to Lumiere when she is not.
While the regulator’s judgment ruled Liberty’s attraction “did not fall within the definition of sexual orientation” and thus wasn’t covered by their laws, The Sun has since acknowledged that the woman may very well be romantically involved with Lumiere.
On the other hand, the publisher reminded its readers she has had a fairly chronicled history with the media. After all, this was the same person who changed her name from Whittaker after falling in love with the Statue of Liberty — and never shied away from talking to the press about it.
For example, in 2017 Liberty first went public with her intention to marry Lumiere. She told The Sun that before Lumiere, she had been in an open relationship with 24 other chandeliers. “None of my chandeliers are jealous of each other, they understand that I love them all for all of their different personalities,” she said.
However, Lumiere gained a special place in her heart. After spotting the chandelier on eBay, she said, “I couldn’t stop thinking about her and how beautiful she was – she has such a beautiful shape, and I could feel really amazing energy coming from her.”
“I didn’t just decide, ‘Oh, I’m going to fall in love with a chandelier today,'” she wrote in a Facebook post. “No. It just happened. It was totally led by my heart.”
As such, The Sun argued that Moore was wholly entitled to comment on this aspect of her personal life.
Ultimately the IPSO complaint panel agreed that this coverage of Liberty was “offensive and upsetting.” Nonetheless, it decided to rule in favor of The Sun, as not doing so would presumably set a precedent with significant ramifications for the future.
As it stands, their code only “provides protection to individuals in relation to their sexual orientation towards other persons and not to objects.” Objects are essentially excluded from this code on the same basis that animals are.
Though Liberty wears a ring and is entirely committed to Lumiere, the two are not married — primarily because doing so is legally impossible in the U.K.
In simpler terms, since Liberty is legally unable to marry Lumiere — critical coverage of their relationship is inherently not discriminatory.
As recent events have thoroughly reminded us, however, the future isn’t set in stone. Should acceptance of unconventional sexual orientation garner just another small push, Liberty and Lumiere might actually be permitted some day to take this relationship to the next level