Big H8 or  Latter Day bigots

Documentaries don’t often fall into the “tearjerker” category but 8: The Mormon Proposition (Wolfe Releasing) evokes tears of joy at the sight of gay and lesbian weddings in California, including that of George Takei and Brad Altman, followed by tears of rage at the hateful, probably illegal tactics used by the Mormon Church to pass Proposition 8, adding a ban on same-sex marriage to the constitution of California.

Another film on the subject, Annul Victory, was on the festival circuit last year, but it was a thrown-together collection of home videos, mostly of rallies against Prop. 8.  8: The Mormon Proposition is the real deal, a professional effort directed by Reed Cowan, that digs deeper and contains some real revelations.

Narrated by Mormon-born, Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the film features Spencer Jones and Tyler Barrick, a Mormon couple who’d been together for six years and married in San Francisco the day it became legal.  They provide the human faces that were missing from the campaign against Prop. 8.

But doesn’t dwell on the weakness of the opposition.  It focuses on the successful campaign orchestrated and funded by the Mormons through various fronts, such as the National Organization for Marriage.  The church, which once faced persecution for its own marriage beliefs (and still believes there will be polygamy in Heaven), pressured its adherents to donate their savings to help write discrimination into the California constitution.  The 52-48 percent victory gave them momentum to take their “holy war” into other states.

8: The Mormon Proposition is balanced in terms of letting both sides have their say, but its sympathies are never in doubt.  It’s good background to have as the law itself slowly makes its inevitable way to the Supreme Court.

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