Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Faith unites Mormon filmmaker and lesbian priest

Filmmaker Douglas Hunter didn't set out to befriend or even to film the Rev. Susan Russell when researching same-sex marriage for a new documentary, he told an audience at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, on February 22.

Rather, the 40-year-old father of three wanted to explore "the dynamic between religion and sexuality" and to engage those outside his own Mormon faith, which teaches that gay marriage is taboo.

Russell, 54, definitely fit the bill. The president of Integrity USA, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Episcopalians, she campaigned last year to defeat California's Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage that was heavily supported by the Mormon Church.

"I discovered Susan as I started researching … and it led me to this path," said Hunter who eventually joined anti-Prop 8 rallies and spoke out publicly against the measure. California voters approved the ban by a 52-47 margin in last November's election.

That path led to surprises for both Hunter and Russell. They discovered a lasting friendship, a commitment "to never give up on each other" and the realization for which the film is named, that throughout life, change is "The Constant Process." Read more
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