It’s fairly easy to see members of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus when they’re wearing their black “MARRY US” t-shirts. Attractive and eye-catching, the attention is drawn to the big white block letters across the front of the shirts with the political statement that elevates the visibility of the Freedom to Marry campaign. Now, there’s an entire photography project that takes the striking visual elements of those beautiful people in black and white t-shirts to a larger audience. In the black and white photos by B.D. Portraits Photography, the people wear black t-shirts and across the picture are the words “MARRY US.” Meant to take advantage of how easily pictures can be shared and spread across social networking, the free photography will hopefully make this message of beauty and marriage rights widespread and oft-seen. Here’s a short Q&A with Jeff Heine and Christopher Taykalo of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and the photographer, Brent Dundore of B.D. Portraits Photography:
Q: What is MARRY US?
A: The MARRY US campaign is a partnership between the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus and BD Portraits Photography Studio in collaboration with Minnesotans United for All Families to raise awareness and promote marriage equality for all.
Q: How did MARRY US start? How is the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus involved?
A: In 1995, when Dr. Stan Hill (the recently retired Artistic Director of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus) was the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, he commissioned a piece called “Marry Us” which was part of a larger choral work called “NakedMan” which has become an important work in gay choral literature. In response to the Minnesota Legislature’s vote in Spring 2011 to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot to define marriage as between one man and one woman, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus decided to sing “Marry Us” at all performances in the 2011-12 concert season and at rallies and gatherings of people who were opposed to the amendment up until election day. The song’s demand for equality is summed up in the final line: “Marry us, today!”
Q: Who’s involved in the MARRY US campaign? Where do you see it going?
A: Former Los Angeles celebrity and fashion photographer Brent Dundore (BD Portraits Photography Studio) has joined forces with TCGMC to create the MARRY US campaign. Brent, a Minneapolis resident and singing Chorus member, fought for marriage equality in California and witnessed what happened with Proposition 8 firsthand. Now that the vote on the amendment is behind us, we hope that the MARRY US campaign will encourage people to contact their representatives and senators in the Minnesota legislature to vote in support of marriage equality and join the 9 states who already recognize marriage equality.
Q: What are the most important aspects of the MARRY US campaign?
A: The combination of the musical message of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus and Brent Dundore’s images of Minnesotans – gay and straight – who support marriage equality are powerful symbols of love and inclusion.
Q: What would you like the public to know about the MARRY US campaign?
A: Please like the campaign’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/marryuscampaign) for more information on MARRY US and where you can get your picture taken. You can also learn more on our website: www.marryuscampaign.com to find out where we’ll be taking pictures next. You can buy MARRY US T-shirts to show your support of the campaign at www.TCGMC.org. Do you have an event where a MARRY US shoot would be appropriate? Contact the photographer and check out his work at BD Portraits Photography Studio’s website: www.BDportraits.com.