THE FREEDOM TO MARRY (2017, doc)


freedom-to-marry Greetings again from the darkness. The film takes us back more than forty years to a 1973 poll that found the majority of the people in the United States felt homosexuality was immoral. That’s what the folks at the non-profit organization Freedom To Marry had to overcome in their decades long fight to win the right for legal gay marriage. Filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein offers up a behind the scenes, and very detailed look at the history, strategy, and tactics used by the group to reach their goals.

In 1983 Evan Wolfson wrote his Harvard thesis on why gay marriage is moral and just. After that, and because of it, Mr. Wolfson became the driving force, the leader, and the face of the movement for gay marriage rights … as well as the Director of the Freedom To Marry organization. This is really the inside story and a chronological legal and political history of the push for gay marriage.

The fight is truly a Civil Rights movement of rallies and marches – both for and against. We witness the revolution one conversation at a time, and the film counts down the days to the Supreme Court arguments, as well as the final decision. 102 days until the Supreme Court arguments open … and a reminder that about a decade prior there were zero firms that allowed gay marriage. Much time is spent with Mary Benauto, the chief litigator for the cause, and a true champion of legal gay rights.

It’s Evan Wolfson who dominates the film, and rightly so. He’s known as “The Marriage Guy” and “The Paul Revere of Gay Marriage”. We witness him leading many important meetings and consistently working towards the goal. He explains to us that AIDS shattered the silence of the community, as the movement shifted from “leave us alone” to “let us in”. As Ms. Benauto explains, “I do this work because people just want to be who they are”; but it’s Evan who makes his mission clear when he states, “I always believed we would win”. The film is an extraordinary look at a vital part of Civil Rights history, complete with heroes.

watch the trailer:

 

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