Shall Not Be Recognized - portraits of same sex couples
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The creators of the exhibit

I BECAME DEEPLY ANGRY when the amendment to Wisconsin's Constitution was approved. My wife, Jerilyn, and I had given money to the effort to defeat the amendment, and she was also an active door-to-door canvasser on the issue. We considered getting a divorce as an act of civil disobedience, thinking that rights denied to some should not be enjoyed by any.

Instead, I returned to my photojournalist roots. I have long known the power of pictures and words to precipitate change. For 10 years, as a young man, I was chief photographer at a daily newspaper. More recently, I created an exhibit of portraits of panhandlers, showing the worth and dignity of these marginalized individuals.

The same motivation inspired this project. It seems that many people simply do not know same-sex couples, beyond the often distorted view provided by television and other mass media. I believe that if people were to really know same-sex couples, they would not fear or hate them and would be less likely to deny them the right to marry

I am humbled by the 30 couples' willingness to participate, and by their candor. This project is their project, and it is a political action. I believe that this exhibit can make a positive difference in the attitudes of people who see it, and in how they vote wherever this issue is raised.

Jeff Pearcy, photographer

Jeff and Will

Will Fellows, Jeff Pearcy
Creators of the Shall Not Be Recognized exhibit and project.

AS A GAY MAN, I know how it feels to be told that the committed relationship I've been in for many years is not worthy of legal recognition. When Jeff asked me to create this portrait exhibit with him, I immediately agreed. I was struck by the particular significance of this project being a gay-straight collaboration. Most important to me was the chance to work with a sensitive photographer to create an exhibit that portrays the lives of marginalized families.

Will Fellows, author

Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest
A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture
Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s

WE GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE the financial support of PFLAG Milwaukee, Cream City Foundation's J. G. Clark Family Fund
and Joseph R. Pabst LGBT Infrastructure Fund, Ray Vahey, and New Harvest Foundation.