First ten members of US Congress pose for NOH8

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Ten Democratic members of Congress have posed for the NOH8 campaign this week, the first elected national representatives to do so.

NOH8 was founded as a silent protest against the passing of Proposition 8 in 2008, the ballot measure which took marriage rights away from gay couples in California.

The campaign now includes 20,000 faces. Four of the those photographed on Capitol Hill are representatives for California.

Adam Bouska, photographer and NOH8 Campaign Co-Founder comments: “We would like to sincerely thank each Congressman and Congresswoman who took part in NOH8 on The Hill. With opponents of equality becoming increasingly vocal we believe it’s important for equality supporters to stand up and be counted. The ten Members of Congress we photographed have done just that.”

Last summer, Adam Bouska told how the campaign started from a photograph he took of his partner Jeff Parshley after Proposition 8 passed and Facebook friends were changing their profile photos to say ‘I am a victim of H8’ in protest.

He said: “We liked the message, but the problem was you couldn’t see who the person was: they were faceless victims. So we came up with the NOH8 photo to show the faces of the people being discriminated against and their supporters.”

The campaign has grown rapidly since, with many celebrities being photographed, including George Takei, Jane Lynch and Ellen DeGeneres, Paris Hilton and Lindasy Lohan.

Larry King posed in July 2011.

The ten Congress members are: Earl Blumenauer who represents a district of Oregon; Judy Chu of California; Eleanor Holmes Norton of Columbia; William Keating of Massachusetts, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio; Barbara Lee of California; Jared Polis of Colorado; Jackie Speier of California; Niki Tsongas of Massachusettes and Lynn Woolsey of California.

NOH8 said more than a hundred invitations were issued, but no Republicans agreed to participate.

Congresswoman Judy Chu comments: “I’m proud to join over 20,000 participants who’ve posed in NOH8 photos depicting the silencing of equality by California’s Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world. These pictures speak volumes about the will of the American people to be treated the same, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.”

Congressman Bill Keating comments: “The reason why I support the NOH8 Campaign is simple: our country rests on the principle that all people are equal, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. If we deny that fact then we are no longer the Land of the Free. The most important freedom is the freedom to be the person you truly are and embrace the life you want to live. It’s my hope that LGBT youth across the country and in Massachusetts feel our encouragement and support. They are not alone. I stand firmly behind them, and the important message that NOH8 is spreading.”

Congressman Jared Polis comments: “Equality before the law is an American value articulated in our Constitution and it’s at the heart of the NOH8 Campaign. With a focus on our nation’s value of freedom and an unflagging insistence on equality for all, we can look forward to a time when equal rights for all is a given.”