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Reviews of movies with a religious/ethical theme

"Pursuit of Equality" A movie about
same-sex marriage in San Francisco

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About the film:

This is a documentary that records a magical month in San Francisco. It started on 2004-FEB-12, when Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, CA authorized the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. About four thousand couples married by 2004-MAR-11, when the California Supreme Court ordered the sale of licenses stopped, invalidated existing licenses, and forcibly divorced all the couples.

According to the Pursuit Of Equality web site:

"By issuing same-sex marriage licenses, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom uproots the status quo, attempts to change the way the nation looks at life, love, and marriage, and ignites what may become our nationís next great Civil Rights issue."

"PURSUIT OF EQUALITY is an emotionally charged film that puts a face on American citizens who strive for marriage equality."

"From the first frame of the film, even before the press is aware, this film crew is with Mayor Gavin Newsomís senior staff as the nationís first same-sex couple exchange their vows and ignite the most controversial civil rights topic in recent history."

"The story continues on the streets, in the courtrooms, and on the steps of City Hall, where same-sex couples clash with church groups who declare that who they are and how they love is a sin."

"The film focuses on the compelling, human rights struggles surrounding same-sex marriage and captures the elation and despair of couples and families who are fighting for equal rights."

"As the only film crew in the Mayor's chambers during the most crucial of times, this extraordinary film provides a telling Ďfly-on-the wallí view as this historic event unfolds." 1

Dennis Harvey, movie reviewer of Variety wrote:

"There's no doubting the potential lasting significance of these events, or their profound meaning to the many grateful newlyweds whose loving relationships (as a California Supreme Court decision duly labeled them) were at least partially acknowledged by law. But "Pursuit" barely lifts its head above the local level, a strange decision given the debate Newsom fanned to full flame. Some even opined that pushing gay marriage during an election year, without consulting his party higher-ups, may have lost Democrats the White House and sabotaged Newsom's own future prospects. Given the controversy's huge impact on public discourse and politics, the docu's narrow focus is a real letdown."

"Highlighting individual stories among the hundreds of wedded couples provides human interest outside the mayoral chambers. But pic betrays its message of equality when it stops midway to gawk at length at celebrity Rosie O'Donnell flying in to marry her own life partner." 2

Prior the first showing of the movie in Sacramento, CA on 2007-NOV-30, the Sacramento for Democracy website had a review of the film:

"Nicole Scanlan, PRIDE Center Coordinator ... said: '"The whole point Iím hoping people will get as they watch the movie is that this is a civil rights issue. It doesnít matter if youíre gay or straight, married or single, or even if youíre single and donít want to ever get married! The point is, people should have the choice, the option. Itís just not fair that some people get to have this right and others donít'."

"The hosts share the hope that attending Pursuit of Equality will give those who were not present in 2004 a realistic sense of the poignancy and power of the events in San Francisco and an appreciation for the passion that marriage equality proponents feel. Sacramento MEUSA Co-Chapter Leader Lysa Twardosz, who is the mother of a young child and is striving for the rights that will protect her growing family, explains, 'This film provides a rare opportunity to view the marriage equality movement from the inside out and to participate in conversation with the producers and community members. We are proud to support a project that so clearly illuminates the challenges and victories on this road to equal rights'."

" 'I really hope that people who are confused about or uncomfortable with the idea of same sex marriage will come see the film,' adds [Christine] Allen, [Administrative Coordinator for Marriage Equality USA]. 'This movie puts faces on people, gives them voices and illustrates what a human issue this is. After all, love is common to us all'." 3

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Movie details:

Name: "Pursuit of Equality."
Web site:
Release date: 2006-FEB-06. It is scheduled for wider release in the U.S. during 2007-DEC.
Director: Geoff Callan & Mike Shaw.
Production company: Emmett Brooks Prods & Enough Said Prods.
Runtime: 75 minutes
Themes: Marriage equality, civil rights, couple and child protection.
Rating: None

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bullet 2005: San Francisco International Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
bullet 2006: San Luis Obispo Film, Audience Award for Best Documentary
bullet 2006: Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
bullet 2006: Sonoma Valley Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
bullet 2006: Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary
bullet 2006: Palm Springs INTL Film Festival, Best of the Fest 4

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  1. From the Pursuit of Equality website at:
  2. Dennis Harvey, "Pursuit Of Equality: The Unfinished Work Of American Freedom," Variety, 2005-MAY-30, at:
  3. "Sacramento Premier of Pursuit of Equality," Sacramento for Democracy, 2007-NOV-30, at:
  4. "Pursuit of Equality," Wikipedia, 2007-OCT-22, at:

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Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-NOV-30
Latest update: 2007-NOV-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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