Married in Massachusetts

The doc Saving Marriage captures the firestorm after same-sex wedlock was first allowed

REVIEW Mike Roth and John Henning's engrossing documentary chronicles the public firestorm that ensued after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex wedlock in 2003. A state constitutional amendment (loudly supported by Gov. Mitt Romney) was promptly drafted to ban it. When election time rolled around the next fall — after several months of marriage ceremonies — candidates' stance on the issue was make-or-break for many citizens. (Beliefs are held so strongly that when one conservative family ultimately doesn't see things going as they hoped, they plan to move out of the state.) The directors mix fly-on-the-wall reportage with vividly etched portraits of individuals, from senators to poignantly hopeful gay couples and activists on both sides of the fence. While things do inevitably get nasty, it's to the filmmakers' credit that at least some of the "one man, one woman" types met here come off as earnestly misguided rather than flat-out bigoted and vindictive. Though the film's events may seem like pretty old news now, it excitingly captures the high emotions around a battle that continues to be fought, as an interviewee says, "one state at a time."

SAVING MARRIAGE opens Fri/10 in Bay Area theaters.

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