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Jessica Ballou, Published August 12 2012

Marriage equality campaign to visit Fargo on Saturday

FARGO – A well-known campaign that aims to raises awareness for marriage equality and anti-discrimination will visit North Dakota for the first time this Saturday.

The NOH8 (pronounced “no hate”) campaign was started in California as a response to the Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage approved by voters in a 2008 ballot measure. The amendment, which has been declared unconstitutional by federal appellate courts, is still in place pending a possible review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Co-founder Jeff Parshley said the organization has grown to encompass any form of discrimination or anti-bullying since its inception almost four years ago. The campaign involves Adam Bouska, co-founder and Parshley’s partner, taking photos of people wearing white clothing with silver duct tape across their mouths and a NOH8 temporary tattoo on their cheek, in most cases.

Campaign organizers say they have more than 25,000 photos and counting, including shots of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, George Takei, James Van Der Beek and Kathy Griffin.

Parshley and Bouska also travel across the country to get regular people in different communities involved in the movement.

“They can speak out and it’s a fun way to do it,” Parshley said. “I think it’s working.”

Parshley said they’re going to try to make stops in all 50 states, and the tour of the Midwest that includes the Fargo stop started Friday.

Nicole Moen, director of marketing with the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, said someone from the community contacted Mark Weiler, founder and owner of ecce art gallery, about trying to get NOH8 to visit.

When Parshley contacted the CVB, she already had the gallery in mind.

Moen said the NOH8 campaign hopes to attract 200 to 800 people to their events, depending on the size of the town, but she’d like the turnout to exceed expectations.

Showing up for the photo shoot isn’t the only way to participate in the campaign. Parshley said anyone can submit their own NOH8 photo to the website to be added to the photo galleries.

“Every face counts to us,” he said.


If you go

What: NOH8 open photo shoot

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ecce art gallery, 216 N. Broadway

Cost: $40 for solo portraits, $25 per person for groups.

Online: Visit NOH8Campaign.com for more information.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 241-5509