One of the most surprising things about the same sex marriage movement is that it was carefully planned and orchestrated over decades. The upcoming documentary The Freedom to Marry is an intimate and epic documentary that goes behind-the-scenes to reveal the inner workings and key players of this historic civil rights battle.
This is a riveting ride alongside Evan Wolfson, the man known as architect of the movement, civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto, and their colleagues as they wage their climactic battle before the United States Supreme Court – providing unique perspective on the movement’s history along the way.
Filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein said, “For me, this project began with a simple question from my teenaged son. ‘Dad, we go to rallies, and we watch the news, and we talk. But nothing really ever happens. People just complain. No one really has any power to fix these things.’ But I was aware of one remarkable movement that, as a result of a campaign decades in the making, was about to change my son’s perceptions of the role each one of us can play in American progress.”
Rosenstein praised his neighbor Wolfson.
“Changing the laws in America, an old family acquaintance from Pittsburgh named Evan Wolfson understood, required changing the ideology of a nation. It meant helping non-gay people understand that gays and lesbians were simply people,” Rosenstein said. “It meant gaining the trust of millions of closeted gay people, who had so much to lose, but whose stories and bravery was needed. The movement needed people to share their tales. One thing that this campaign showed us is how important it is to share our personal stories. As a documentary filmmaker, I believe strongly in that. Nonetheless, it’s staggering to see what occurs when personal stories are shared on a widespread level. When people are willing to reveal who they really are, and when others listen, centuries of ingrained discrimination can begin to ease.”
Changing hearts and minds on marriage was only the beginning.
“Winning marriage was never meant to be the ‘end of the road’. From the start, Evan had intended to use the marriage fight as a way to claim a seat at the table,” Rosenstein said. “He understood that, by demanding equal rights in this regard, a host of other ingrained issues would soon become fair game. That strategy turned out to be, perhaps, Evan’s most brilliant stroke, and why this campaign has become ‘the playbook for social change.’”
The filmmaker went on to say that “though he is now recognized as the architect, or the ‘Godfather’ of the same sex marriage movement, Evan Wolfson is a pretty regular guy. He lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his spouse, he prefers to eat at diners and you might not notice him if you passed him in the street. But he is tenacious. And he always believed that America is a place where problems can be fixed, where equality can be had, and where the promise of our nation can made fuller with every generation. And I believe every one who is interested in progressive change in America can learn from, and be inspired by, Evan’s playbook.”
The Freedom to Marry runs 86 minutes and is makes its theatrical release in early 2017.