The making of this documentary has been an odyssey, a story
of good and evil, love and friendship, intense emotion and
personal growth. And that’s just behind the scenes.
This journey began on a bench in the Chamber Gallery of
one of the oldest state houses in the United States of America.
I sat on that bench in Massachusetts surrounded by people
of all colors, creeds, orientations and ages, listening
to legislators debate my future. I barely breathed for five
hours. I was sad and angry, I was thankful and proud. But
most of all, I was awed and inspired. For I was witnessing
a discussion of enormous historic import, the implications
of which were just beginning.
Outside the chamber, emotions blustered like the cold February
wind that blew inside and outside the chamber. Protests
echoed through the halls, opposing views reverberating off
opposing walls. Signs, stickers and chants announced each
person’s opinion. What issue could cause people to
rally day in and day out during the legislative process?
Not the budget, transportation or even taxes. The debate
is over marriage, a social institution with deep roots in
civil, legal and religious life that has become synonymous
with love and commitment. When I left the Massachusetts
State House that night, February 11, 2004, I embarked on
a voyage to discover the people embroiled in the debate
over same-sex marriage.
I became a storyteller because I recognized the power of
stories in my life. I am a filmmaker because I believe the
media is a powerful force in society today. The stories
we hear through the media inform how we understand ourselves,
others and the larger world. My mission as a filmmaker is
to respectfully use this awesome medium as a means of stitching
stories about what it means to be human, into the quilt
I envisioned a film about same-sex marriage to which everyone
could relate on some level. Audience response has proven
this film achieves that goal. THE GAY MARRIAGE THING tells
the stories behind the signs. Stories lived by people on
both sides of the marriage debate. I chose quite deliberately
to speak with people who did not agree with my life, let
alone my opinion. People ask me if this was difficult. My
answer is always a resounding yes. But that’s the
point. True discussion and communication is often difficult.
It is easy to ignore your opposer’s humanity while
they ignore yours. It is less work to scream and shout than
to take the time to find the right words to speak in a civil
manner. It is less frightening to cover your ears and avoid
hearing another’s story.
My hope is that this film will artistically promote discussion
over shouting, communication over violence. If THE GAY MARRIAGE
THING does nothing more than open a dialogue between two
family members, co-workers or friends on opposite sides
of this debate, then I have done my job as a filmmaker.
Stephanie Higgins, Director