“One” portrays controversy surrounding marriage ban

Aug. 17, 2014 @ 05:54 PM

Two years ago, Becca Roth traveled to North Carolina from New York to create a documentary on Amendment One, the controversial constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Roth and her girlfriend, Melina Marini, captured the days leading up to the 2012 vote in the documentary “One: A Story of Love and Equality,” which was screened Sunday at the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival inside of the Carolina Theatre.

The film portrays homosexual couples throughout the state that had their lives directly affected by the vote, whether it be in child care, insurance or caretaking in assisted living.

And while the film captured the personal stories of those in opposition to the amendment, it also portrayed those for it.

“We wanted to get to the heart of people’s feelings about homosexuality,” Roth said.

The commitment to capturing both sides presented a challenge for Roth and Marini from the moment they arrived in Hendersonville 56 days before the vote.

Several mass emails were sent out throughout their time filming, recommending that people request not to be interviewed for the documentary. Walking up to people on the street rarely worked.

But Roth and Marini interviewed several pastors around the state who were voting for the amendment as well as a couple named Buddy and Ramona, who believed that the passage of the amendment would not negatively impact homosexual couples’ rights and its absence would devalue marriage overall.

However, Roth and Marini spent time with Buddy and Ramona, who then attended the initial screening for the documentary.

“The more people get to know LGBT people, the more they’re in support,” Roth said. “Ramona was definitely affected”  by the film.”

And Roth said she believes there is a shifting sentiment towards same-sex marriage, following President Obama’s outspoken approval for it and the recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

“A lot has changed in two years,” Roth said.

Tracy Hollister, an activist portrayed in the film and program manager for Marriage Equality USA, said that North Carolina will most likely see Amendment One overturned not based on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision for Virginia, but when the Supreme Court rules on the issue in the next year or two.

On July 28, Attorney General Roy Cooper said his office will no longer defend the ban on same-sex marriage set in place by Amendment One.

The film will screen again Thursday at 7:20 p.m. in Cinema Two at The Carolina Theatre.