One - A Story Of Love And Equality

by Tony Pinizzotto

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday September 16, 2014

One - A Story Of Love And Equality

Since childhood filmmaker Becca Roth has been dreaming of marriage: Real marriage with all its benefits, traditions, and securities. So, in 2012, when she heard about North Carolina's Amendment One, a ballot initiative that, if passed, would make it constitutionally legal to ban LGBT marriages, she knew that she had to find out more about how a constitutional amendment like this could even exist. This is the topic of her documentary "One - A Story of Love and Equality."

In this compelling and highly entertaining documentary Roth and her partner journey to the Old North State yearning to find both supporters and opponents of Amendment One. The journey would turn out to be a roller coaster of events and emotions, eventually leading them to "come out" to state residents and become blacklisted, thanks to an underground series of emails released by the conservative right in NC. The two journey to Raleigh, Asheville, Hendersonville, amongst other cities, and have almost no problem finding people who oppose the ban on gay marriage. The caveat comes when they initially seek to find adversaries, asking them to come out of the shadows in support of the ban.

My biggest query of this filmmaker is why she didn't try to track down the group of persons who originally wrote the amendment and got it on the ballot. However, this is secondary to the people she does finally get to talk to in North Carolina.

"Becca and her partner conduct their investigation in what has to be one of the most congenial and diplomatic processes ever seen in a film covering this topic."

That being said, "One" challenges the radical right while all the time allowing Roth to take "the higher road." Becca and her partner conduct their investigation in what has to be one of the most congenial and diplomatic processes ever seen in a film covering this topic. There's an ethical and delicate flair to her approach, and her documentary is all the better for it. Roth talks to Christian church leaders as well as the Rabbi of a local synagogue, and the feedback will anger and inspire you simultaneously.

In one of the most heartbreaking moments of the film, one couple, together for over 55 years and separated because of dementia and mental illness, is denied access to an absentee ballot. Their goal is to vote against the amendment, but one is denied the right even to pick up a ballot for the other, solely because they are not legally married or blood relatives.

Kudos to Roth on her first feature documentary. "One" gives us not just an inside look at what is a nationwide issue, but connects us with real human lives. It connects us with not just the names, but also with the hearts of these lives, people who are battling with and against the (hopefully temporary) process of excluding the rights of a targeted minority through constitutional manipulation.