2014, Movies

The Case Against 8 (2014, Ben Cotner, Ryan White)

So any pretense to “objectivity” for a message movie “documentary” like this is thrown out the window. But if you believe there is a “both sides” to marriage equality you are likely not going to watch this documentary about the law suit to overturn California’s infamous Proposition 8, nor will you accept this film, which does not admit that three is any kind of case against its position. If you don’t have a problem with that, on the other hand, you will likely find this film compelling and moving.

As I noted, this film covers the law suit over California’s Proposition 8, a ballot measure to define marriage as between a man and a woman. If you’re not familiar, California has a peculiar form of government where plebiscites can change the laws with enough support. It passed during the November 2008 election and it made gay marriage illegal in California, though marriages had been performed already. The film follows the law suit through five courts (I think, I lost count) as the a team of lawyers and two couples try to make marriage in California to everyone.

The film is a compelling story of a legal case from one side. It is also a compelling human story of people trying to be treated like everyone else. A fascinating aspect is who the lawyers are, as the team of lawyers is lead by the two lawyers who faced off against each other during the 2000 election.

The film makes no attempt to be fair to the other side, which is something I don’t have a problem with in this particular situation. (What is the other side? It’s all slippery slope arguments, that’s it. None of which have come to pass, I might add.)  The story it tells is moving but also is a fascinating legal story. It’s also important, if you’re American, as it is another landmark ruling by the US court system, of the kind we may not see much longer, depending what happens this coming week.

Anyway, if you have any interest in human rights, or the US court system, it’s worth watching.


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