Marriage Equality Interview Excerpt with David Wilson
Thomas Allen Harris‘ documentary, Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and the Fight for Fairness, premiered at Aaron Davis Hall in New York April 26th. Harris’ film connects the Black civil rights movement with the gay civil rights movement for Marriage Equality. Marriage Equality, the documentary, “interweaves archival footage and photos with contemporary interviews to illuminate events surrounding the pivotal Massachusetts state constitutional convention on Same Sex Marriage which gave new momentum to the national same Gay Marriage movement as a Civil Rights issue,” according to Harris.
The documentary taken the perspective of communities of color stars Byron Rushing. Byron Rushing has been in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1983 (Ninth Suffolk district). A veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, Byron is dedicated to human and civil rights and sponsored the gay rights bill. One of the original sponsors of the bill were Barney Frank in the 70’s.
Byron took the campaign for Marriage Equality into the Black community, “directly challenging many religious leaders, and defining the right to Same Sex Marriage as a Civil Rights issue on par with the liberation movements of the 1950s and 1960s.”
Byron Rushing @ Cambridge Rally Against Prop 8
Black, straight, and gay and transgendered civil rights ally, Byron was also the chief sponsor of the law to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Massachusetts public schools. He believes everyone, gay, transgendered, straight and oppressed, has the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The documentary was commissioned by Tribeca Film Institute’s ‘All Access’ Program in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The director, Thomas Allen Harris, is an out and proud gay Black man, who was raised in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and New York City. Harris founded Chimpanzee Productions, Inc (I’m not a fan of the name) in 1992 and through the company produced and directed Marriage Equality the documentary. Other movies Harris has directed include: VINTAGE – Families of Value, É Minha Cara/That’s My Face (which aired on the Sundance Channel), and the Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela.
Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela Trailer
“Chimpanzee Productions utilizes a wide range of media, including video, interactive platforms, still photography, installations, performance, and film; to draw audiences into an internal and external dialogue that transcends the artificial barriers which separate people from each other and themselves.”
For more information on Marriage Equality screenings go to their website.
Listen to Thomas Allen Harris and Bryon Rushing on NPR on Talk of The Nation.