Comments

  1. Sulllied says

    Marketing and public relations ARE part of any civil rights struggle–those are just more recent terms to describe inherent realities in any social/political movement. Duh?

    What a disgusting, petty half-man Sullivan is. Isn’t it time for his exit already?

  2. JDH says

    Neither the movie nor the book actually discuss the most important legal aspect of Hollingsworth – that by granting cert, the Court sent it’s most direct signal that Baker was no longer precedential. Hollingsworth was a federal challenge to a state ban, and it is the only case since 1972 that is closely analogous to Baker.

  3. Full Picture says

    “… And when you’re marketing something, you show no wrinkles or flaws. You carefully stage every single thing to advance the product.”

    So, I’m curious….if one were making a bio pic about Sullivan, and his advocacy for marriage equality, would one also include scenes of him visiting bathhouses, and trolling for anonymous sex online?

    If he engaged in this activity AFTER his diagnosis, would you include that information as well? What would be the best way to frame the issue that he knowingly endangered the lives of his partners, if that is in fact how things happened?

    Would you include these flaws and “wrinkles”, to give a fuller picture of the subject, the good with the bad, the base with the high, the altruistic with the pathologically selfish?

    Would you reduce Sullivan’s life story to “…one not about a fight for equality, but about one unloved son’s desperate plea for attention…”? Or could it be a bit of both.

  4. Mastik8 says

    I can well understand Sullivan’s frustration but isn’t what is happening what always happens? Doesn’t make it right, just typical. In addition to get getting upset shouldn’t he be writing his version of what happened? He’s written good books in the past while blogging.

  5. Jack Nelson says

    Couldn’t “the people who were involved in [United States v. Windsor],” who Sullivan claims were so slighted, or filmmakers inspired by their efforts, have made their own movie?

    What obligation did the makers of this film have to treat every person or every case in equal measure?

    I for one am fully aware of what a hero Edie Windsor, and those who represented her, were and are to us all. I also was very inspired and moved by “The Case Against 8″ and the fact that the filmmakers followed the plaintiffs for a tough four-year journey. Sullivan, you’re coming off here like a bully.

  6. Jay says

    Sullivan is an egotistical neocon. I suppose he didn’t get enough publicity when he was busy defending Brendan Eich, so he decided to spend his time attacking a couple that made considerable personal sacrifice to become the face of the marriage equality movement in the challenge to Prop 8.

  7. K in VA says

    Oh, good grief. Just what we need — mutual firing squads.

    Victories belong to lots of people. Edie Windsor’s case got to the Supremes before some other good cases, so her name goes down in history, and other names become, at best, footnotes. She’s a hero in my heart, but so are many people unknown to anybody but the few of us who closely follow marriage-equality cases

    The Prop 8 case didn’t bring marriage nationwide. But the presence of two very high profile lawyers got national press coverage and attention marriage equality would not have gotten otherwise. In a perfect world, Mary Bonauto would have been the first lawyer to argue and win marriage equality. But that didn’t happen.

    Lots of people deserve lots of credit. Even those who sit on the bench cheering on their home-run hitting teammates deserve credit.

    What we don’t need is backstabbing. And we also don’t need Andrew Sullivan’s grandstanding. For all he’s done for the cause over the years, he’s also done lots to get spotlights aimed his way.

  8. Mike says

    It takes more than 1 film to document the history of a movement. This is a film documenting the Prop 8 case, not the entire marriage equality movement.

    Do something constructive, Andrew, like getting involved in making a documentary about another piece of the marriage equality movement.

  9. Boris says

    Sullivan is attention seeking troll. What pisses him off more than anything is that these people actually achieved something.
    Something more than a blog about self promotion.

    After his self righteous defense of Eich why does anyone listen to this self-aggrandizing gay equivalent of Ann Coulter.

  10. Dan Cobbb says

    Sullivan, while affable enough, is just a lightweight. Wherever he has opined on serious issues, he seems to be clueless. He was utterly wrong on just about every issue in the Iraq war. Wrong, wrong and more of Sullivan’s “wrong”. He was so pro-war that I had to wonder whether he was the recipient of some of Carl Rove’s “mold national opinion” walking around money.

    I think Sullivan is a person who cannot fathom anything outside his own personal and immediate experience: in other words a genuine conservative. Lacking in depth and understanding, but oh so happy to opine on whatever happens to be the topic of the day. Sullivan’s passion about the attribution for the success of the same-sex marriage movement shows how small-minded and peevish his approach to issues is, and always has been.

    All I can say, really is: Consider the source.

  11. Will says

    Well as much as I hate Sullivan he had some points. Its amazing how both Jo Becker and these filmakers were tipped off at the beginning and took on the projects before a judgement. The problem with this interview is that it included the plantiffs even though its the panel is about the documentary itself and not the case.

  12. Dan Cobbb says

    TO BILL:

    You write:
    “The makers of this film have an obligation not to lie, misrepresent, and skew to make their story more than it is. They’ve failed that test.”

    Really? Is that “BILL’S” law? Sorry Bill, but you don’t get to codify your personal beliefs into what other people are “obliged” to do. You sound like an egotistical only child… filmmakers are not obliged to do anything.

  13. Dan Cobbb says

    Would Sullivan be so passionate about members of some other movement (maybe the gun control movement) not getting the recognition they deserve, or is this all about Sullivan’s own perception that he didn’t get the –in his mind– credit he deserved?! Talk about being full of it!

  14. UFFDA says

    “It takes more than 1 film to document the history of a movement.”

    That says it (thanks MIKE).

    Sullivan needs to be involved in the “other” documentation. Get to work boy

  15. oncemorewithfeeling says

    I will never understand how the world doesn’t unanimously recognize Sullivan for the moronic whore that he is, no matter how consistently he proves this to be true.

    I’m not crazy about this movie, either, but not because it doesn’t star me.

    Enough with this case that completely failed to do what it set out to do. Windsor changed everything. Prop 8 got California marriage equality back, but years after the state could have had it back with another ballot measure.

    The Prop 8 case was, largely, an exercise in egos which failed in its goal. So what? It still did more good than Sullivan has ever done in his entire sorry, hypocritical, idiotic, whorish life.

  16. Ed Decker says

    Get a grip Sullivan. Face off with your own demons and simply rejoice in the queer surge forward. The advancement of equality is not propaganda it is progress . You should applaud the courage of everyone who contributes to making the world a better place not dragging the conversation into the muck.

  17. KidJ/NYU says

    This would be the same Andrew Sullivan who just last year slandered the memory of Matthew Shepard, promoting a sham book that makes wild accusations with no evidence. That same book was pushed by anti-gay organizations all over the US – and Sullivan. He never once subjected the author to a grilling, instead allowing the author to respond to written softball questions on video. And later he admitted that he might have been too willing to accept and promote the disgusting allegations against Shepard because he is opposed to hate crimes laws and he associates Shepard with that cause.

    The guys is despicable.

  18. Jack says

    There are many in the left that are just as upset about this retelling of history as Sullivan, including Dan Savage.
    Yes, it was great to get Prop 8 overturned, but when it comes down to facts, the real history that day, the case that will change all of our lives in Windsor. Windsor is where precedent is going to be. Windsor is going to what history books write about. Edie Windsor and her lawyer are the ones who are going to get everyone in the US the right to marry.

    And yes, that is important, because Prop 8 wasnt were is started. DOMA was passed 12 years before Prop 8 was passed. 12 years. And that was based on what was going on in Hawaii even early than that.

    Again, getting rid of Prop 8 was great, but getting rid of DOMA is what REALLY mattered that day (overturning Prop 8 while supporting DOMA would have been a hollow victory).

    The point of this is to put things into perspective. The lawyers on the Prop 8 case are overselling themselves, while Roberta Kaplan is dignified

  19. Props says

    A rising tide lifts all boats – whether the Queen Mary or the Minnow. Each crew can tell its own story. It’s a big ocean with room for all. Having thought of no more maritime analogies, let me simply add:

    I’M the king of the world – not Andrew Sullivan

  20. Harlan says

    If the movie hadn’t taken pot shots at those who questioned the strategy and had been more accurate about the very limited Supreme Court ruling then Sullivan might not be so critical. Personally I wish we had gone back to the voters immediately and won the victory there through public opinion. As it is, the opponents of same sex marriage will always feel their rights were trampled and are less likely to accept our marriages as morally legit.

  21. Zlick says

    I’m so glad there was video of this. I had a rant on Facebook about it over just a little bit of the transcript that I saw the other day. Now having watched the entire thing, I feel much more qualified to state what an ass Andrew Sullivan is in this instance, and how poorly he came off, imo, in this video of the event.

    Perhaps his criticism is applicable to the Becker book, which I have not read. Even at that, I understand her attempts to minimize other elements of the marriage equality movement were limited to the opening pages of a fascinating inside story of the Perry litigation.

    This film was nothing but that inside story of the Perry litigation. I’ve seen it twice now, and I don’t recall anything about claims of Perry being the be-all and end-all or turning point or best thing ever about the marriage equality struggle. That’s just not so, and Sullivan’s browbeating of the filmmakers and two of the plaintiffs was just boorish and absolutely uncalled for.

    By the way, there’s more than one fine documentary about the Massachusetts marriage struggle, and I don’t know why there’s not one about the Windsor case, that became so very important. I would hazard a guess it’s because, unlike the Perry case, very few of the other marriage ban cases were civil trials – which have lots of documentary interest and provide so much story material. Several have been bankruptcy matters, or employment issues, or – as with Windsor – tax court issues. Since Windsor, in fact, many of the cases are decided on summary judgment without ever getting to a trial. So the Prop 8 case is very important on that level, as well as many others – and it’s a perfectly legitimate subject for a film.

    That the film didn’t cover everything in the world is beside the point, and I don’t think it disparaged any other effort nor claimed to be King of Marriage Equality. Sullivan came off like a bully. It was in very poor taste and of questionable judgment to attack the panelists in that manner.

  22. Zlick says

    I’m so glad there was video of this. I had a rant on Facebook about it over just a little bit of the transcript that I saw the other day. Now having watched the entire thing, I feel much more qualified to state what an ass Andrew Sullivan is in this instance, and how poorly he came off, imo, in this video of the event.

    Perhaps his criticism is applicable to the Becker book, which I have not read. Even at that, I understand her attempts to minimize other elements of the marriage equality movement were limited to the opening pages of a fascinating inside story of the Perry litigation.

    This film was nothing but that inside story of the Perry litigation. I’ve seen it twice now, and I don’t recall anything about claims of Perry being the be-all and end-all or turning point or best thing ever about the marriage equality struggle. That’s just not so, and Sullivan’s browbeating of the filmmakers and two of the plaintiffs was just boorish and absolutely uncalled for.

    By the way, there’s more than one fine documentary about the Massachusetts marriage struggle, and I don’t know why there’s not one about the Windsor case, that became so very important. I would hazard a guess it’s because, unlike the Perry case, very few of the other marriage ban cases were civil trials – which have lots of documentary interest and provide so much story material. Several have been bankruptcy matters, or employment issues, or – as with Windsor – tax court issues. Since Windsor, in fact, many of the cases are decided on summary judgment without ever getting to a trial. So the Prop 8 case is very important on that level, as well as many others – and it’s a perfectly legitimate subject for a film.

    That the film didn’t cover everything in the world is beside the point, and I don’t think it disparaged any other effort nor claimed to be King of Marriage Equality. Sullivan came off like a bully. It was in very poor taste and of questionable judgment to attack the panelists in that manner.

  23. says

    Andrew Sullivan is so annoying to me. His only opinion is disagreeing with whatever anyone else is saying. He never has anything positive to say about anything – he whines a moans about stupid things. I wish he would pick a cause and go after it instead of bitching about how everyone else is approaching theirs wrong.

  24. Zlick says

    Sorry about the double post. How embarrassing!

    Sullivan seems to be talking about the Prop 8 case itself, and NOT the film about it. There were some vague rumblings about that case going to the Supreme Court with hopes of bringing marriage equality to the nation, but that was just PR of the case and was not in either the legal strategy or the film. The Prop 8 proponents never had federal standing, and the lawyers knew it all along.

    Even to the extent, as the filmmakers say in this panel discussion, that the lawyers discussed supporting the Proponents’ claim of standing, there’s no use in arguing the losing side of law. The film SHOWED David Boies arguing against standing at the 9th Circuit. Nothing in the film counteracted the feeling that the entire effort was to restore marriage equality to California.

    Ironically, because the 9th Circuit decision was wiped out on the standing issue, the case has no value as legal precedent. Yes, it’s the Windsor case that is being used around the country to strike down all the marriage bans, and Windsor deserves all the glory of that. But who outside the movement knows WHO her lawyers were.

    The PR value, brilliantly exploited, of the Olsen / Boies paring was what catapulted the Prop 8 case and the concept of conservative support for marriage equality into the public consciousness. The value of that is incalculable and should not be underestimated.

    For those of us in California, we were somewhat surprised and absolutely overjoyed how the passage of Prop 8 outraged the entire nation. The Prop 8 saga is an important American story, and an important element of it has been told by this film. No more, no less.

    I look forward to Andrew Sullivan’s book on the overlooked elements of the marriage equality struggle. Sheesh.

  25. jamal49 says

    I care not one whit for Andrew Sullivan but in this instance he is right. The people in this documentary are arrivestes to the cause of marriage equality but act as if their “struggle” should be the one that is remembered by history. Mr. Sullivan has every right to get on those reprobates’ cases. Such nouveau gay-activist trash love the media attention and the concurrent media face-time but they are only picking up the tail-end of a decades-long struggle. Good for Andrew Sullivan on this one for taking them to task for their impertinence.

  26. says

    So make another movie about other people that contributed to the fight for justice. Or write another book that promotes what you want to promote. To fault the filmmakers and the writers that they didn’t tell a different story is, well, odd. I get it, though, everyone wants to be a part of history. Everyone put energy into this. Some energy, though, contains a different quality that moved the history in a significant way. And there is no denying that Chad Griffin and the team on the Hollingsworth/Perry case did some significant moving.

  27. Reggie777 says

    The film was about one aspect of the struggle for equality. I stated it plainly. Prop 8. It did not intend to represent the entire struggle. Just this one battle. And as such, I think it explained a lot. A clue: a movie entitled “The Titanic” is not going to tell the story of all ships that sank from the beginning of time.

    Just what has Sullivan accomplished in his entire life so far that truly makes a difference to our struggle? Has he made any significant addition? Wrote a book for his own profit? Attacked other people for his own aggrandizement? Please…

  28. Tim says

    A few responses to people above:

    – This was a documentary about the one case. It doesn’t have to justify why it didn’t deal with other issues. If you do a documentary about the battle of Iwo Jima, you shouldn’t have to spend 50 minutes justifying why the film didn’t discuss Stalingrad.

    – Sullivan is a ridiculous character. He makes wild statements and accusations. Then he backtracks and takes an opposite view. At one time, he supported the Iraq War and predicted that it would be a cakewalk. Then he became a bitter foe. In October 2012, after one lackluster debate performance by Obama, Sullivan declared that Obama had lost the Presidency. He’s an idiot who postures himself as a smart guy. He also cocoons himself from any comment or criticism on his blog. That shows his fear of being exposed as a charlatan.

    – While the DOMA case wound up being the more imporant one, the Perry case was also very important. It brought marriage equality to 13% of the US population. It very well could have been the case to decide marriage equality for the country. If the Imperial County clerk had appealed or if a Republican had held the AG spot and appealed, it would have been decided by SCOTUS on the merits.

    – While Boies and Olson are self-promoters, so is Kaplan. Kaplan’s case was one of several percolating in the court system. Hers just happened to be the one to make it to SCOTUS first. She didn’t really do all that well at the SCOTUS argument.

  29. Tim says

    Oh, and to Harlan who was griping that Prop 8 should have been put back on the ballot and repealed: You are wrong. Prop 8 was struck down by the summer of 2010. So it would have been pointless to spend tens of millions of dollars to repeal an already-invalidated Prop 8.

    The only election cycle prior to its being struck down, when we could have put it on the ballot, was the election of 2009. But that was only 1 year after the titanic battle of 2008. There was absolutely no reason why the electorate would repeal what they had just passed 12 months earlier. Moreover, in an off-off election cycle like 2009, the turnout would be much older and more conservative (This is a big reason we did not prevail in Maine that year.)

    But you might still get your wish. The marriage amendment cases are heading rapidly to SCOTUS. If the court holds next June that the US Constitution does not guaranty a right for gay couples to marry, then the legal basis for Judge Walker’s injunction will have been eliminated, and in due course, Prop 8 will come back to life. At that point, the only way to get rid of it will be a ballot initiative in 2016.

  30. sfbob says

    I first read Sullivan’s critique of Becker’s book at about the time I sat down to read the book itself. As was my reaction then, so is my reaction now: It’s duplicitous and pointless to criticize somebody for telling they story THEY wish to tell simply for not telling the story YOU wish to tell. If the story of Windsor seems somewhat tangential to the events described both in Becker’s book and in the current movie, that’s because in each case the people documenting the Prop 8 case chose to–and in fact were to some extent invited to–do precisely that. Why would anyone be either shocked or insulted that the focus of either work was anything other than they turned out to be?
    One might as well criticize the author of a book about (just to choose a random example) 18th Century England for not instead writing a book about 18th Century France.

  31. ajax28 says

    @ Zlick & Tim. Excellent posts. I wish many of the other comments on Towleroad were as thoughtful and intelligent as yours.

    One point to emphasize is that the Prop 8 litigation was important and influential because of the attention it got. Yes, in the end, it didn’t accomplish nation-wide same-sex marriage, and the decision does not have the authority of the Windsor case, but the Boies/Olson combination, their reasonable and compassionate support of same-sex marriage in interviews, and the excellence of the trial work raised consciousness across the nation. Why are people here attacking them and belittling the importance of the case?

    As for Andrew Sullivan, he is a pompous, self-aggrandizing, bloviating, neo-con windbag.

    But back to my original point. Thank you, Zlick and Tim.

  32. Thomas says

    I’m not the type of person who leaves negative comments on a blog, and I won’t start now. But Lord knows Andrew Sullivan makes me want to type some unChristian things. There is just something so insufferable about this stocky pseudo intellectual who lectures people with dancing hands and condescending tones. But no Ma’am, I will not leave a negative comment, not even about this mincing Gimli.

  33. Steven says

    In my opinion, Andrew Sullivan is an embarrassment to the LGBT community. What else would we expect from a gay Republican? All he seems to do is attack other gays for not having the same views as his.

  34. Randy says

    The Perry case WAS a win, for the plaintiffs, and for California, and a bit for the 9th Circuit.

    THe Perry case WAS revolutionary in the way it promoted to the general public the need for marriage equality, and the idiocy of our opponent’s ideas.

    The Perry case WAS a win federally, by banning initiative intervenors from defending unconstitutional measures on appeal.

    Although it directly lead to 15+ state victories, and will ultimately win the rest, the DOMA case was NOT a HBO/Hollywood movie. A rich person doesn’t want to pay a tax bill? Come on. It’s clear who the movie should be about.

  35. Randy says

    JOe said: “Hollingsworth is virtually irrelevant to all of the recent wins. None of the courts cite that case, they all cite Windsor.”

    That is false. Perry (the district case at base of Hollingsworth) has been cited in multiple cases post-Windsor. Hollingsworth as well has been cited, I’m sure. Perhaps Ari can clarify. I know I’ve seen it, but I have no good means to find it.

  36. Mike says

    This documentary was The Case Against 8. Not The Case Against DOMA. Nobody is saying the Prop 8 case was more important, but being set in California, Prop 8 got a lot of press, a lot of NoH8 photos, a lot of popular celebrities talking about it. And unsurprisingly, it got filmmakers wanting to make a documentary about it.

    I encourage all the whiners to make a US v. Windsor documentary if they’re so upset.

  37. Mike says

    Sullivan is a horrible,bitter queen. I understand that he is from the British Isles but yes, sometimes the sun does shine for days. I will never forget when he eyeballed me for minutes @ 20 years ago in a DuPont Cir restaurant. Later, at a party, when his boyfriend was present, I didn’t even get a side glance. Bitter? Hell no. Thankful, very thankful. Just showed his character and integrity. This docu was about prop 8 and it’s aftermath. Not anything else. Not about Edie or his marriage equality book written so many years ago.

  38. Honesty says

    ANDREW SULLIVAN certainly comes off as if he thinks
    HE should be getting more attention for the work HE has done and how it’s NOT FAIR other people have made strides in the equality movement. Give me a break – this documentary was about 1 specific case, doesn’t even touch on all the other gay rights movements or even DOMA. He can take a seat now.

  39. anon says

    The film’s topic and focus are fine from a documentarian point of view, but you’d have to watch it in full knowledge of the other cases to weight what it’s trying to say.

    The real issue is that yet another leftist cause could only be won in the end through the courts and not in the ballot box. The handful of states that voted themselves for marriage equality are so few that we can be sure of our unpopularity as never before. And it’s not like gay marriage is taking off like gangbusters in Europe either. The rest of the world is even worse.

  40. David says

    Andrew Sullivan is a bitter soul. It was a documentary about the legal challenge to Prop 8, not a comprehensive piece on marriage equality. When it comes to people like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, or Andrew Sullivan, who only exist to promote themselves, I recommend we ignore them. Attention is the drug they crave. Why give it to them?

  41. says

    Actually, the Perry case was a HUGELY important case in that it allowed states, Oregon for one, to win marriage equality in less than 10 months and for $400, precisely because opponent NOM had not standing…NOM could not stand in the pumps of Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum because NOM is not accountable to the voters and the AG has the exclusive prerogative to reach legal conclusions and advance the State’s case. And in Oregon, the State had provided gay and lesbian couples EVERY martial right and obligation except marriage itself. We are in the debt of everyone who worked on the Prop 8 case…and to Roberta Kaplan, Edie Windsor, and the 100,000s of thousands of souls whose documentaries and books can be told about how each of us has advanced equality in America. We are all riding the wave…and some of us are seeing and catching a wave in unique ways.

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