Sunday, January 25, 2009

Movie: "The Gay Marriage Thing"

The Gay Marriage Thing. A film by Stephanie Higgins.

The debate over gay marriage and how it affects the gay community receives a warm, humorous and sympathetic treatment in The Gay Marriage Thing, an excellent new documentary directed by Stephanie Higgins. The film follows a young lesbian couple, Lorre and Gayle, who have been together for fifteen years, as they prepare to wed in Massachusetts. The two women have moved in with two elderly aunts who can no longer live on their own. As we see them discuss the particulars of their upcoming nuptials and reception with the aunts and each other, various individuals voice their opinions on gay marriage.

There’s the African-American Reverend Carlton Smith, who points out that it’s not him but the state who actually makes the marriage "official" in legal terms. Representing the anti-gay marriage side is Reverend Richard Weisenbach, who tells how he "loves" everyone in the most cloying terms but can’t congratulate two gay men – "great fellows" he "loves" – on their marriage because homosexuality is just plain wrong. Pro-gay representative Kathi Anne Reinstein tells how shocked she was to get virulent hate messages from people "whose lives are not affected by this at all."

One young woman on camera makes it clear that gay marriage opponents just don’t get it. She says that she knows that gay people can love each other, but if love is the only requisite for marriage, then why can’t she marry her mother or father or anyone she loved. She just can’t grasp the reality that gay people can have romantic feelings for one another just as straight people do. After she then claims that most gay people are not in relationships and are not monogamous (as if all heterosexuals are), Higgins cuts to shots of several gay couples who have been in committed relationships for decades.

Higgins allows gay marriage opponents their say; it’s not her fault if they’re clueless. As the bigots wave their vile, ignorant banners, we are reminded that gay marriage, like desegregation, is another important progression in basic human rights and freedom.

You can learn more about the film, including how to buy or rent/download it, at its website: The film would be perfect to start off a discussion on this important issue in the home or classroom. Of special note, Ms. Higgins recently married her wife and honeymooned in Europe. "It was an amazing, exciting, emotional experience for everyone," says Higgins.

But "it was hard to learn in Italy that Prop 8 passed."

I have to say that I've been very surprised -- and a little dismayed -- by the lack of support that Ms. Higgins' film has been given by the New York gay media. Although a review was submitted to The New York Blade, it wasn't even posted to their web site. (Of course the Blade does not publish as often as it used to, has less space each issue, and its publisher is apparently having serious financial problems). When I queried the editor of Gay City News if he'd like to run an interview with the film's director, I never even heard back. Let's see -- here we have a film made by a member of our community about the issue that's being talked about the most -- gay marriage -- and neither paper can bother to cover it? Yet the Blade had room for a write up on the DVD of that awful old Boys in the Band (which is supposedly still "relevent" -- give me a break!) and Gay City News has room for a piece about Puccini's La rondine. (Now I'm a big opera fan and love La rondine, but the last I heard Puccini wasn't gay.) There's nothing wrong with covering the arts in a gay paper but why not cover The Gay Marriage Thing? I can't believe it's because the film was made by a lesbian instead of some hot young gay guy, so what's going on here?


MFL said...

Saw the trailer. Looks like a documentry but looks interesting

Lesbian Movie Spot

Bill Samuels said...

Yes it is a documentary, and a very entertaining, well-made one at that. Check it out. You might want to give it a plug on your Lesbian Movie blog.

Nice blog, by the way. Thanks for your comment. Bill