The friends were at the event that early estimates say attracted more than 800 participants with people waiting in line until past 9 p.m. The event began officially at 3 p.m.
“What an amazing day. Atlanta represented with one of our largest photoshoots yet! Still awaiting exact numbers…” wrote Bouska on his Facebook page late Sunday.
With a DJ, a bar for people to purchase cocktails as they waited and a packed W Hotel of hundreds of LGBT people and allies, the NOH8 Campaign’s stop seemed to come just in time to cure cabin fever from last week’s snow storm that kept so many people in their homes.
The timing of the Atlanta photo shoot was also very deliberate, being held the day before Martin Luther King Day.
“I think it’s great they chose Atlanta because Atlanta plays a big part in the civil rights movement,” Drummond said. “It’s very fitting they have it over MLK Weekend.”
Rev. Josh Noblitt of St. Mark United Methodist, an organizer of the event, told the crowd of hundreds that it was time for LGBT people and allies to “take their place in the civil rights movement.”
Bouska and his partner, Jeff Parshley, founded the NOH8 Campaign after voters in California approved the state constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, on Nov. 4, 2008, banning gay marriage.
The campaign has gone on to promote other marriage and LGBT equality causes as well. But it’s the photos that people love. The campaign has grown to more than 8,000 “faces” in the past two years and continues to grow.
Dr. Melanie Thompson, principal investigator of the AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta (ARCA), and her wife, Amy Morris, waited four-and-a-half hours before their number was called to have their picture made. They didn’t mind a bit.
Holding an oversized photo of them with family and loved ones when they were married in California two years ago — before Prop 8 was passed — the couple said they were impressed with the message NOH8 was sending.
“I’m here today because we are one of the 18,000 couples married in California when it was legal and we’re proud of that and we want to see Prop 8 defeated and, more importantly, we want to see hate defeated,” Thompson said.
“I think particularly in light of the happenings in Tucson [Ariz.] that we all look at our actions every day,” she added. “If I could wear this tattoo that says NO H8 every day I would. It’s a great message and it’s the right time.”
Morris, who is from San Francisco, said they showed up to celebrate their marriage in Georgia and to wish for a world with no hate.
“We really feel good to be one of the 18,000 but we wish the same rights were granted to everyone in the U.S.,” Morris said.