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The Right to Marry
A video documentary about a basic human freedom
Written and Directed by Demian

“The Right to Marry” was originally released in 1996 as a VHS tape.
It was re-edited and released as a DVD in 2017.

Community leaders interviewed in “The Right to Marry.”
Rev. Mel White
on commitment and caregiving

A legal marriage supporter, Mel White is Dean of the Dallas Cathedral of Hope (MCC). He is author of “Stranger at the Gate: To be gay and Christian in America.” Formerly a ghost writer for Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Oliver North, and many others, he has been in a committed relationship with Gary Nixon since 1984. His story was told to a national audience through a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS. In “The Right to Marry,” Mel addresses the needs of same-sex couples to have their relationships validated socially and legally. He speaks about hardships endured by same-sex couples in the hands of greedy relatives who can legally separate a couple when their child is ill, or has died.

Richard Mohr
on his partner, Robert Switzer, and immigration

Professor of philosophy at University of Illinois at Urbana, Richard Mohr is author of “A More Perfect Union: Why straight America must stand up for gay rights.” He also wrote “Gay Ideas: Outing and other controversies” and “Gays/Justice.” In his interview, he offers a clear definition for legal marriage, and for it’s rightful place in our lives. He also describes the early years of his relationship, when Robert was an illegal alien, and they didn’t know if they would be permitted to stay together. While immigration for a foreign partner of an American citizen is possible for opposite-sex couples, the families of same-sex couples are ripped apart by the denial of legal marriage.

Jacqui Johnston
on future generations

Natalie Hanson
on future generations

Jacqui Johnston and Natalie Hanson allowed us to videotape their wedding ceremony. In their interviews, they express the desire for social and legal recognition for the love they share with each another. They also shared their understanding that they were breaking new territory in their church, seeking holy bonds, bringing a higher level to their relationship, within community.

Phyllis Burke
on the benefits for kids

Phyllis Burke wrote “Family Values: A lesbian mother’s fight for her son,” the true story of her struggle to care for a child born to her partner. She also is the author of “Atomic Candy.” Her interview addresses the social implications of legal marriage. She also convincingly tells of the necessity of legal marriage to protect the children of same-sex couples.

Frances Fuchs
on her partner, Gayle Remick, and workplace benefits

Frances Fuchs is a lesbian-feminist therapist. In her interview, she talks about her yearly marriage ceremonies with Gayle Remick. These ceremonies served as a sign of the depth of commitment between these two women. She also talks about the extreme hardship she experienced because their relationship was not legally recognized by Gayle’s workplace when Gayle died.

Faygele benMiriam
sued Washington

Faygele benMiriam, along with his friend Paul Barwick, sued Washington state for marriage in 1971; only the second attempt nationally. [See the Legal Marriage Timeline.] At the time, Faygele was known as John Singer. His case, Singer v. Hara, has been widely cited, in part because of that court’s absurdly circular definition of marriage: marriage is only for men and women because only men and women can marry. In his interview, Faygele outlines the reasons for his suit — fighting institutionalized discrimination and raising consciousness — as well as about the subsequent loss of his job, and the hesitant support of the ACLU.

Marcial and Ben Cable-McCarthy
sued California

Marcial and Ben Cable-McCarthy are pictured here at their wedding. They sued California for legal marriage in 1993. [See the Legal Marriage Timeline.] The court denied them, and they were also shocked to find very limited support for their suit from the gay community. In Ben’ interview, he relates the process they went through to get married with permission from both sets of parents, and how strongly he feels about his relationship to Marcial. The couple is pictured at a gay pride parade, at home and attempting to apply for a marriage license.

Tina Podlodowski & Chelle Mileur
on having a baby

Tina Podlodowski was on the Seattle City Council. Chelle Mileur tells us they had tickets to Hawai’i, to activate the moment legal marriage became available.

Kevin Cathcart
on civil rights

Kevin Cathcart, director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, gives a clear rationale for legal marriage as a civil right meant to protect all parts of the American family, not just those families defined by certain political groups.

Susan Reardon
on her Hawai’i suit testimony

Susan Reardon is co-director of the Marriage Project-Hawai’i (was HERMP) and an educator. She was present for the legislative hearing on legal marriage in Hawai’i and expresses the pain of that experience. She also tells us about the two women from the Mormon Church who refused to testify against legal marriage, even though that was their intended mission. Susan also talks about the intensity of hatred manifest by the opposition in the struggle for this civil right.

Evan Wolfson
on implications of the Hawai’i case, and preparing for the future

Besides being co-counsel in the Hawai’i case, Evan Wolfson is director of The Marriage Project from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. He has spearheaded discussion of the legal marriage issue around the country, preparing for the legislative and court battles ahead. He has contributed many essays on this Web site. Evan brings the perspectives of both a legal and social reformer. He speaks about the recent history when other forms of marriage were not allowed, and how the Hawai’i case can change the nature of our place in America. He explains why we need to talk now about the importance of legal marriage with as many people as possible.

Click to return to the The Right to Marry introduction

“The Right to Marry” - DVD
Available from Amazon.com

“Demian’s Film & Video Projects” - DVD
Contains an 8-minute excerpt from “The Right to Marry”. Rev. Mel White and Phylis Burke appear in the excerpt.

The shorts on this DVD represent more than 40 years of moving-picture artistic endeavors. It includes 21 of Demian’s short films, and excerpts from larger projects.

Available from Amazon.com
Info from Sweet Corn: “Demian’s Film & Video Projects”

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All contents © 2017, Demian, Sweet Corn Productions