Movie Review: Saving Marriage

Mike Roth and John Henning’s new documentary about the fight in Massachusetts to save marriage equality

Mike Roth and John Henning’s documentary Saving Marriage, the true story of the Massachusetts fight to save marriage equality, is a film that not only gays and lesbians, but every American, should see.

Everyone knows the beginning of the story–in November of 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage. Saving Marriage is the lesser-known account of what happened next. The decision caused a public outcry and legislators responded by proposing a constitutional amendment that would override the decision and once again eliminate gay people’s right to marry–and so the battle began, with both groups believing they were fighting to save marriage. The story is so well paced and well told, you’ll feel like you’re inside city hall alongside other lobbyists, awaiting the decision that will determine what you can or cannot do with your life.

The film is clearly pro-gay marriage, but features voices from both sides, from politicians and gay couples to lobbyists and demonstrators. It’s impossible not to be moved when a Cambridge city hall official comments, “We’re giving out more than a marriage license; we’re giving out public dignity,” and an elderly, newly married lesbian couple who have been together for many years walks out of the courthouse, hand in hand, into a huge crowd of cheering supporters.

Viewers can expect to experience a full range of emotions. For example, one of the film’s most infuriating and disturbing scenes depicts three young children, holding signs and chanting, “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” Likewise, it’s hard not to laugh when another anti-gay supporter of the ban vehemently tells the cameraman that hearing about the legalization of gay marriage was “as traumatic for [him] as the day Kennedy was assassinated.”

Saving Marriage not only gives an educational glimpse into how our legislative system works, but is also extremely timely in light of California’s Proposition 8. Cliché as it may be, this political drama will make you want to get off your ass and do your part in the fight for marriage equality. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be reminded that we are living through truly crucial and volatile times. The film is already showing in many major U.S. cities. To find a theater or see the trailer and other clips, visit

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