Saving Marriage


Come November 4, Californians will punch their ballot for or against an amendment to the state constitution entitled “Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act” (a/k/a Prop. 8). That’s a harsh name for a measure whose origins can be traced back to Massachusetts with a Supreme Judicial Court order stating that full marriage rights must be made available to all. Political bedlam ensued, prompting an assembly bill, which, if passed, would have been the first step toward writing a gay-marriage ban into the Massachusetts Constitution. In this energetic and unapologetically biased documentary, directors Mike Roth and John Henning are there for the first, failed Massachusetts statehouse vote and the two-year battle that follows, during which queer activists and their hetero sympathizers organize against a second legislative vote on the potential amendment and, later still, a civil action seeking the same initiative. Amidst the turmoil, the directors capture the sweet angst of several couples planning their nuptials, but what propels Saving Marriage is footage of the campaign to replace an old-school state representative with a 25-year-old gay health-care worker—a political novice whose attempt to change the system from within makes one think that there’s hope yet for this democracy thing.