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Same Sex America

One of several recent documentaries about the controversial gay-marriage issue, Henry Corra's "Same Sex America" sets a standard that will be hard to match. Focusing on the fight over legalized same-sex wedlock in Massachusetts, docu captures a fuller range of opinions and a stronger sense of national significance than did "The Pursuit of Equality," which chronicled similar events in San Francisco.

One of several recent documentaries about the controversial gay-marriage issue, Henry Corra’s “Same Sex America” sets a standard that will be hard to match. Focusing on the fight over legalized same-sex wedlock in Massachusetts, docu captures a fuller range of opinions and a stronger sense of national significance than did “The Pursuit of Equality,” which chronicled similar events in San Francisco. Human interest, breaking news aspects, political maneuvers and high emotion are all deftly juggled in a first-rate package that merits wide fest and broadcast exposure.

In late 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ordered marriage licenses be made available to same-sex couples six months hence. Reaction was immediate, with gays and supporters ecstatic over this sudden windfall. Largely Christian-based opposing forces quickly organized to demand a public vote and “defend” the traditional “one man, one woman” definition of marriage from this “tyranny of the judges.” Several gay couples of varying ages, backgrounds and status (several are raising children) are followed throughout, their joyous nuptials providing an apt climax. But Corra also takes pains to include (and not condescend toward) the issue’s equally earnest grassroots foes. Tech contribs are excellent.

Same Sex America

Production: A Showtime presentation of a Corra Films, K2 Films production. Produced by Henry Corra, Alex R. Johnson. Executive producers, Robert Katz, Jerry Kupfer, Jay Peterson. Directed by Henry Corra.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Corra; editor, Charlene Rule; music, Hahn Rowe. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 19, 2005. Running time: 89 MIN.

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