This Seattle Times news account of state Sen. Ed Murray’s marriage last Saturday to his long-time partner Michael Shiosaki warmed a lot of hearts, including mine. Murray, a Seattle Democrat, fought well over a decade to convince a majority of his fellow lawmakers to support legalizing same-sex marriage. Patience pays off. The two wed exactly 22 years from the day they met during a hike to Mount Rainier.
The political wedding of the season happened just a few days before the highly anticipated documentary film “The Campaign” is scheduled to screen Thursday at SIFF Uptown in Seattle at 7:30 p.m. KCTS 9 will broadcast the film next Sunday at 11pm. Here’s a preview:
Aw, that’s right. Four years before Washington state voters made history by becoming one of the first electorates in the union to affirm marriage equality, there was the 2008 campaign in California for and against Proposition 8, a measure by same-sex marriage opponents to define marriage in that state’s constitution as a union between one man and one woman. Two lower courts ruled the amendment was unconstitutional before the case reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Last June, the justices ruled they had no authority to decide on the case, thereby allowing California to resume same-sex marriages. (Read the Wikipedia explanation of this rather complex legal battle at this link.)
The stunning outcome of that election raised our collective consciousness and ignited a revolution (and lots of fundraising) in states outside California, including right here Washington. It forced a mainstream discussion about gay marriage not just as a social or political wedge problem but as an issue of human rights and personal freedom.
I first saw the previews for “The Campaign” when I attended a PBS workshop for producers back in 2011. Producer/director Christie Herring was also a fellow that year, and I remember being moved to tears by the excerpt she showed us. Herring received exclusive access in 2008 to the state headquarters of the “No on 8” campaign, which means she had access to heart-wrenching stories of ordinary people moved to take action for a cause that directly affected their lives and families. Herring dedicated the next four years to raising funds to complete the project.
Posted below is the flyer for Thursday’s screening at SIFF Uptown, which includes a Q&A session with Herring afterward about Prop 8 and the demise of the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act. Such context will help us better understand just how far and fast public opinion is changing — and that’s a good thing.
Thanks to a coalition of Washington advocacy groups (listed below) for sponsoring Thursday’s complimentary screening at SIFF. Don’t forget seating is limited, so RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (248) 819-1449.