Mormon gay marriage involvement film gets Sundance OK

Fri. December 4, 2009 12:00 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Director Reed Cowan's controversial documentary on the Mormon Church's involvement in banning gay marriage will premiere next month at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The church's preoccupation with the issue predates the high-profile position it took with Proposition 8, California's 2008 voter-approved gay marriage ban.

"[Cowan] goes very deep, into the Mormon Church and its relationship to the anti-gay-marriage-movement, all the way back almost before it really started, all the way back to the '90s," festival director John Cooper told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Playing the role of the villain is Utah state Senator Chris Buttars, who Cowan called "the new Anita Bryant."

"We smoked a bully out of his hole, and we've got him on the run," Cowan said. "Buttars is the new Anita Bryant, and the world press will see that, crystal clear."

Talking with Cowan has already cost the West Jordan Republican his chair of the powerful Judicial Committee after an audio clip of an interview where he calls the gay rights movement "probably the greatest threat to America" and gay folks "mean" was leaked to the media in February.

"It's just like the Muslims," he also said. "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.

Fred Karger, the founder of Californians Against Hate and possibly the sharpest thorn in the side of the Mormon Church on the issue of its bankrolling of Proposition 8, told On Top Magazine in an email that the film will be a "PR nightmare for the Mormon Church when it premieres in Utah next month."

He also congratulated Cowan on having his film accepted at Sundance: "Reed Cowan has sacrificed so much to make this film. It is only through all his hard work and determination that it has come about."

"I will be at Sundance, for sure," he added.

The film is expected to reveal the Mormon Church's involvement in banning gay marriage since Utah became the first state to approve such a law in 1995, and how church officials attempted to conceal their deep involvement on the issue.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine