Karger: Proposition 8 Film Explains Mormon Gay Marriage Involvement

By Carlos Santoscoy Published: October 21, 2009

Director Reed Cowan’s documentary on the Mormon Church’s decades-old involvement in the fight to ban gay marriage in the United States is ready for its premiere screening. And Californians Against Hate Founder Fred Karger says the film will “undoubtedly change history.”

While still in production the film drew fire when Cowan released several controversial audio clips in February.

Utah State Senator Chris Buttars, a practicing Mormon, lost his chair of the powerful Judicial Committee after the Republican was heard in a Cowan interview calling the gay rights movement “probably the greatest threat to America” and gay folks “mean.”

“They’re mean. They want to talk about being nice. They’re the meanest buggers I have ever seen.”

“It’s just like the Muslims,” he adds, moments later. “Muslims are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side.”

Not surprisingly, Cowan’s trailer for his film, 8: The Mormon Proposition, begins with a tight close up of the senator.

In a series of interviews with Mormon Church leaders, gay activists and Utah politicians, Cowan shines a bright light on the church’s profuse involvement in banning gay marriage throughout the nation since the early 1990s. A revelation no more since Karger began meddling in the church’s affairs.

“It tells my story,” Karger told On Top Magazine. And it will “knock your socks off,” he added.

Cowan first interviewed Karger in San Francisco. The pair met in front of the Castro Theater on Wednesday, March 4 just as a huge gay marriage vigil was about to step off. Karger spoke to the filmmaker two more times over the course of the next year.

What is the Mormon proposition? The film is expected to showcase the major gay marriage battles the Mormon Church has backed since Utah became the first state to ban gay marriage in 1995. And how church officials attempted to conceal their deep involvement in the issue. Is the Mormon Church the mastermind puppeteer of the anti-gay marriage movement?

In a blog post, Cowan said the film had divided his family.

“My determination [to finish the film] has been tested. At this writing, I have lost communication with my sisters and my mother and my father. They are wonderful people and they are Mormons. The fear they have over what this film will say has worn thin to the point that our relationships are stressed and I fear broken forever,” he said.

The film is being considered for a Sundance Film Festival premiere in January.