8: the Mormon Proposition

Jack Song, Board Member

Jack Song, Board Member

Sex and the City 2 premiered last weekend and the film opened with
a big ol’ gay wedding. While the over-the-top ceremony was probably
every gay boy’s dream, one line in the film took the LGBT audience from fantasy back to reality when one of the characters mentioned that
his same-sex marriage was legal only in a few states.

As we celebrate the three-year anniversary of California’s
legalization of same-sex marriage for some couples, we are also still
fighting for marriage equality for all on a federal level with the
unfortunate passage of Proposition 8.

While the ladies of Sex and the City are worrying about their
marriages on the rocks, we gays simply just want to get married.

A different kind of film about marriage and marriage equality will
open in San Francisco just a few days after the closing argument of
the federal marriage trial. 8: The Mormon Proposition is a powerful documentary that sheds some light on why Proposition 8 passed with the under-the-radar financial contribution and organizing from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and how the LGBT community can
learn from this chapter in our history.

Directed by Darrin Reed Cowan, a former Mormon missionary, with narration by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the documentary deftly investigates the ongoing battle for marriage equality through three telling perspectives: personal, political, and ideological.

As part of the film’s publicity team at the Sundance Film Festival
earlier this year, I witnessed the energy and momentum behind this
film in the Mormon territory of Utah. 8: the Mormon Proposition
received standing ovations at its Salt Lake City screenings, despite efforts by America Forever to intervene.

This hate-mongering Mormon organization sent over 80,000 faxes during the Sundance Film Festival, urging its members and local businesses to boycott both the documentary and the film festival itself. However, the outpouring of support for marriage equality and LGBT rights by
advocates within the Mormon church was encouraging and heartwarming to everyone in the audience.

8: the Mormon Proposition carefully avoids succumbing to emotional rant, instead relying upon well researched data that chronicles the Mormon church’s surreptitious role in the passage of Proposition 8.
The film also features interviews with many familiar San Franciscan advocates for LGBT rights including Mayor Gavin Newsom, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell, as well as with individuals most affected by Prop 8’s passage.

One such couple is attorney Spencer Jones and registered
nurse Tyler Barrick, who were married on June 17, 2008 at San Francisco City Hall. Barrick is the direct descendant of Mormon polygamist
Frederick G. Williams.

As a small independent film, 8: The Mormon Proposition has the power
to change the minds of those who are still on the fence about
supporting marriage equality. I encourage you to take your
friends and family members with conservative views to go see the film.
The film opens on June 25th and it is also part of this year’s
Frameline LGBT Film Festival.

In celebration for the film’s release, a special meet & greet with the filmmaker and subjects will also take place in Castro on June 17th. Email met at jack.song.jso@gmail.com for more details. Cowan’s film tellingly reminds us that, if any common ground can ever be found, it must be based on truth and transparency.

Jack Song
Technology and Newsletter Committee

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