Last night saw the premiere of The Right to Love: An American Family at San Francisco‘s famed Castro Theatre. Director Cassie Jaye has already won acclaim for her previous effort, Daddy I Do, an exploration of the failure of abstinence-only sex education. Love tackles a different, though related topic, the right of gay people to marry and start families.
Longtime friends of Queerty Bryan and Jay Leffew are the subjects: Jaye follows the men, who share their story on the ongoing “Gay Family Values” YouTube series, as they raise their two children in sunny Santa Rosa, CA. They walk them to school, tuck them in at night and share precious “family time.”
It’s almost banal—until you remember how many people out there want to see this family torn apart.
Though Jaye is obviously on the right side of the issue, it’s not one that’s particularly close to home. As she told PopDose.com:
No one involved on the production end of the film was gay or lesbian. So, we’re all straight and my whole family never had any first hand experience knowing anyone who was a gay. So we came to the movie as a kind of blank canvas—because we didn’t know a lot about the issues. And we wanted to take on this topic from this perspective of being straight all of our lives—and having a background of being evangelical Christian.
We all grew up very strict, Bible-believing Christians and were taught that homosexuality was wrong. And with The Right to Love, well, we are all for the right of same-sex marriage, but [my family] all come from that point of view of knowing the opposing views of same-sex marriage.
We used a lot of footage in the film that really affected us, and made us believe that equality for all is what’s right.
Apparently the film has ruffled some feathers, but not the expected ones: Several queer bloggers took exception with the Leffews’ religious values. As Jay wrote in the blogpost “Right to Love…Just Don’t Pray”:
We have been sending this trailer out to any gay blogs we can think of in the hopes of highlighting the project, but they have been kicking it back because there is a scene with us saying grace around the dinner table… One blog admitted that it was the prayer specifically that made them uncomfortable. That is incredibly frustrating to me and my husband who see walls of posts on the blogs about celebrities coming out and how to check out hot guys on Google Maps. But no one wants to touch a project that could help change the way people see gay families because they are uncomfortable with it’s rather tame and low key religious element.”
Hey, we write about hot guys on Google Map and we were thrilled to cover this movie!
Visit the film’s website for information on upcoming screenings near you.
Photos: Cassie Jaye, Adam Bouska