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Saturday 24 June 2017

Blake's stand against H8

Posted in: Hall of Fame
By Jacqui Stanford - 28th June 2010


New Zealand Winter Olympian Blake Skjellerup is featuring in the "NOH8" campaign, a movement against California's gay marriage slayer - Proposition 8.

The openly-gay speed skater is pictured with his mouth taped up and the NOH8 symbol on his cheek.

In November 2008, Proposition 8 banned same-sex marriage in California. Its legality is currently the subject of a court case, which the judge is expected to rule on within a few weeks.

The NOH8 Campaign is a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to Proposition 8. The photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, to symbolise their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with "NOH8" painted on one cheek in protest.

Skjellerup tells he got involved in NOH8 because he believes everyone should have the right to be married.

"Marriage is about love and commitment. For the government of California to say that LGBT people can't be married is for them to say we don't love – and is a huge injustice of human rights."

The Olympian says the photo shoot was an open session at the Andaz hotel in West Hollywood. He was in LA for Pride weekend working with an organisation called LifeWorks, which is a part of the LA gay and lesbian centre.

Skjellerup says there was a line out the door and around the corner of people wanting to get their pictures taken to support the NO H8 campaign.

"It was amazing to see so many people out in support of Proposition 8 and the NOH8 campaign," he says.

"Adam Bouska is doing a great job and taking great photos. He has an eye for getting the right look out of each individual. He took over 500 people's photos that day, so he was a busy man."

Skjellerup says it's crucial the judge in the Proposition 8 case makes the right decision.

"For the people of California to have the right pre the election in 2008 and then have that right removed is something I am sure will be considered. There was no vote on whether heterosexual couples had the right to marry, so why the vote to remove the right for LGBT couples?"

Skjellerup believes if the law is overruled it will pave the way for the rest of the United States and other countries in the world, like New Zealand and Australia, to finally offer the same full rights as heterosexual couples.

"A union is a union, it is not marriage. To treat one group of people differently is inhuman. It's not about gay rights, it's about equal human rights and the treatment of all of society in an equal manner."

Others who have taken part in the NOH8 campaign include Jane Lynch, Meghan and Cindy McCain, Ru Paul, Russel Simmons, Constance McMillen, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Pete Wentz, Tara Reid, Fran Drescher and Steve-O.

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Jacqui Stanford - 28th June 2010