Same Sex America


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

In November 2003 the Massachusetts legislature voted to legalise same sex marriages, beginning the following July.

While gay couples applauded the state for finally granting them the same civil rights as their heterosexual counterparts, the religious right rallied, fearful that family, civilisation and the entire American way of life would swiftly collapse.

Seeing an ideal opportunity, documentary filmmakers Henry Corra and Charlene Rule threw themselves into the breach, following seven same sex couples through the dramatic events of those nine months.

While the result isn't an unqualified success, with the filmmakers not quite managing to bring all their material together into a coherent whole, it is a slick, professional and worthwhile piece of work.

It sometimes appears to touch on one issue too many - an interracial relationship here, the presence of children by a previous partner there - but on further consideration this only helps to make the point that these gay couples are really no different from their heterosexual counterparts.

Indeed, one of the things that is most striking in viewing the film from a UK perspective is how far everyone here is reading from the same hymn sheet, belief in God and the divine rectitude of the American way apparently unshakable.

As an outsider, you come to wonder if the country as a whole is like this, or whether it's simply that those sections of gay and straight society, for whom same sex marriage is a particular issue, are disproportionately represented here. Presumably when you have sections of the religious right proclaiming, "God hates fags," there have to be gays keen to assert their difference and others who might buy into a marriage scenario, but not in a religious context. If so, it's an area where a bit more background would have helped as far as fulfilling the informational remit of the documentary.

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2005
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Investigating gay marriage.

Director: Henry Corra

Starring: Eliza M. Skinner, Matthew Cummings

Year: 2006

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: US


EIFF 2005

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