Tying the Knot (Jim de Sève)
This movie took me back to a family dinner that took place not too long ago, where we were discussing the battle over same sex marriages. My question at the table was, “What about inter-racial marriages? What if someone told you that you couldn’t marry someone of a different race? How would that make you feel? Would you be content if someone patted you on the back, placating you by saying you could have a civil union, and you should be satisfied with that?”
No one ever really answered my question and it made it furious, because it the issue of same sex marriage is a simple human right. The battle lines are drawn by people within our country’s fabric that truly believe they have a right over others to control and exclude them from certain freedoms, and are doing so with a vengeance, from our President to James Dobson at Focus on the Family.
“Tying the Knot” brings this all to light, including a look at the history of marriage itself, what life was like back in the 13th Century, taking you through to the 1960’s when inter-racial marriage was illegal in some states. The historical look at marriage is compelling, presenting how the definition of marriage has changed over the centuries based on the culture of that time, starting as more of a business partnership for survival than anything based on love and devotion. When marriage finally made it to that mushy phase, many opposed that as well, thinking that these new kids getting married for love would be the downfall of our society.
Then there was the case of the Lovings, Richard who was white who married Mildred, a black woman in 1960, a time when 17 states enforced laws that prohibited inter-racial marriages. They were arrested and given the ultimatum to live in jail for three years in a Virginia prison or leave that state for 25 years. Their case finally made it to the Supreme Court, which overturned the case based on the constitution and bill of rights.
This brings us to today, where the law prohibits same sex marriages and all of the binding and legal aspects that come along with it, from visitation rights at a hospital or something as complicated as property ownership or a pension distribution. “Tying the Knot” shows the plight of the grieving widow, Mickie, who is denied the pension of her wife, a fallen police officer, and the struggle of Sam, an Oklahoma rancher who lost his partner of 25 years and their ranch because of greedy relatives who contested the will and won. And it doesn’t take long to realize the magnitude of the situation, one that would have been completely avoided had they been in a man/woman marriage union.
Other countries like Canada and Holland have already embraced marriages of any sex or race, taking the lead in civil rights over our country that has always deemed itself as being the land of the free. As the line in the sand is drawn longer and deeper by the right-wing conservative groups like Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs and by like-minded politicians, the discussion of leaving the U.S. is on the tongues of many of my friends.
As I watched the anger from self-righteous citizens protesting against same sex marriages and quoting bible passages, I can’t help but hope and believe that 40 years from now we’ll be in a much different place, much like we are now compared to when the Lovings were jailed for marrying the person they loved. And then, our future generations will view “Tying the Knot” in history class with the same shock and dismay at what it was like back in 2004.
Tying the Knot opens at Starz Theater October 29 and runs through November 4. Go to www.starzfilmcenter.com for show times.