House reps pose for NOH8 gay rights campaign

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In mid-February NOH8 co-founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley announced a special photo shoot in Washington, D.C., with “any and all members of Congress.”

The campaign originated in California and has featured celebrities – athletes and actors and some politicians – taking a stand against anti-gay bullying and discrimination. In the photographs, each wears “NOH8” on the check and tape.

For the NOH8 on the Hill shoot, a number of congressional Democrats showed up, representing the District of Columbia, Ohio, Massachusetts, California, Oregon and Colorado. Each issued a statement to accompany the NOH8 portraits:

• “Our nation was founded upon the principle of equality. It is imperative that we work for equal rights for all in order to make that principle a reality. Love isn't gay or straight, tall or short, black or white, it is for everyone,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

• “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,” said Rep. William Keating.

• “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,” said Rep. Judy Chu.

• “On the same week that Maryland and Washington stepped up for marriage equality, I stood with NOH8 in solidarity with those who are fighting Prop 8 in California. Gay and lesbian Americans are part of the fabric that makes this country strong. The notion that we could ask these men and women to do everything from paying taxes to serving our country in uniform while denying them the right to marry is offensive to everything I believe in as a public servant. I won’t stop working for equal rights in Congress until they have been extended to every American,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer.

• “In 2004, I rallied on the steps of the Massachusetts State House in support of same-sex marriage and I was proud that Massachusetts was the first state to recognize marriage equality.  Consenting individuals throughout the country though should have the ability to have their monogamous, long-term relationships recognized and celebrated.  Our nation will be stronger when all Americans enjoy this right,” said Rep. Niki Tsongas.

• “Hate does not belong in our communities, families, schools, the workplace and certainly not in our government,” said Rep. Barbara Lee.

• “Don’t be fooled, I’ll never be silenced about marriage equality,” said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

• “I’m proud to participate in this extraordinary campaign, to make this statement of protest against the treatment of LGBT Americans as second-class citizens.  I believe this is the defining civil rights struggle of our time – where you stand today on marriage equality will determine how you are judged by history.  What’s at stake is the human dignity of LGBT people.  To deny equal rights and freedoms based on sexual orientation does violence to American values," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey.

• “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,” said openly gay Rep. Jared Polis.

• “NOH8 because we are a country of equality and inclusion, not hate and segregation. NOH8 because the state should not dictate love or marriage. I proudly join with the NOH8 campaign to stand up for marriage equality and oppose laws that suppress it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier.

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