The Freedom to Marry

What’s the definition of a mensch? After watching this inspiring documentary, you’ll have a two-word answer: Evan Wolfson. Founder of the advocacy group Freedom to Marry and the acknowledged “godfather” of the marriage equality movement, Wolfson’s 30-year struggle to bring about justice for millions of gays and lesbians is at the heart of this fascinating history retracing the circuitous (some said impossible) path toward legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States. Friends and family say Wolfson developed his passion for social justice early during his Jewish upbringing in Pittsburgh. But even though he laid out the legal reasoning behind same-sex marriage equality as far back as his 1983 Harvard Law School thesis, the documentary rightly gives others in addition to Wolfson credit for the successes of a movement that took decades and involved many tireless champions. His co-star in the film, and the person who had to nervously argue last year’s famous Obergefell v. Hodges case before the Supreme Court, is Mary Bonauto of GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders), an equally compelling subject in a documentary which, even though we already know the outcome, manages to be gripping and suspenseful right down to the moment of the court’s decision. —Peter L. Stein
Gaylen Ross came to directing from the other side of the camera where she was once a leading actress of horror films, most memorably the real live girl in George Romero's classic Dawn of the Dead. Ms. Ross has directed for theatre and dance, including new plays by Robert Auletta and two New York premieres with choreographer Donald Byrd for his dance company. She has received grants and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, New York Council for the Humanities, and New York Foundation for the Arts. The director also recently completed a program on gambling in America for Great Britain's Channel 4 Television, entitled NOT JUST LAS VEGAS. The program received a Chris award for television public affairs. Her previous documentary, OUT OF SOLIDARITY, told the story of three families who left Poland following their activities in the outlawed Solidarity union, and their subsequent first years in America. It had its broadcast premiere on PBS, and was part of The Learning Channel's series "The New Americans." The documentary was a recipient of a CINE Gold Eagle, and awards from the National Educational Film and Video Festival, and the American Film Festival.
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