As Stephen Mosher and Pat Dwyer approached their 25th anniversary and grew angrier that they could not get married in their home state, they did the next best thing – got married everywhere they could. Watch the trailer of their adventure.
“Married and Counting,” making both its LGBT film festival and its Southern debut on Tuesday with Out On Film, is the story of the couple who can now say they’ve been married eight times. The movie screens Tuesday at the Rush Center to help gay Atlanta gear up for the festival’s official opening on Thursday. It screens again Friday at Midtown Art Cinema.
On a lark one night, Stephen and Pat – of New York, where marriage equality was not legal for gay couples when they began – decided to visit all the places they could get married and record it. Throughout the film, they tie the knot in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and Massachusetts, dealing with the paperwork needed in each state and each respective ceremony, as well as the stress it all puts on them, including dealing with family issues.
Mosher and Dwyer continue through California and decide to culminate their adventure in Washington, D.C., where they plan to marry on the steps of the Supreme Court on the day of their 25th anniversary. A pleasant surprise back home, however, leads to another wedding.
“Married and Counting” is directed by Allan Piper, who was hired by the couple to film their journey across the country. Piper recorded their first wedding in November 2010 and then the last one at home in New York last year.
“It was their idea,” Piper says. “They had been planning on getting married, and by that time they thought they would be able to. It was sort of a ‘dammit, why don’t we get married everywhere that we can?’”
Piper is especially happy to see the film play in the South, where gay marriage has been voted down across the board.
When Mosher and Dwyer went to each state to get married, each experience was new. Looking back, Dwyer especially recalls the generosity of people he had never met in each state, all of whom welcomed them and embraced their mission.
Mosher says the first time he saw the film with an audience at a non-gay festival in Rhode Island it was eventful. “I had people coming up to me and telling me it changed their view on the issue,” he says.
The fight for marriage equality across the country has long bothered the two men.
“And it continues to be frustrating,” Mosher says. “The sheer fact that this movie is necessary is frustrating. We are all fighting the same thing.”
Getting openly gay actor George Takei to narrate the film was easier than Piper thought.
“He has such a great voice and is an advocate for marriage equality,” Piper says. “I was delighted when he said he would do it. George and his own partner got married and were able to sneak it in.”
Although Mosher and Dwyer have not met Takei yet, they plan to when Takei comes to New York for a Broadway gig. That especially pleases Dwyer, who’s a major “Star Trek” fan. “If I were any more, I would be speaking Klingon,” he says.
“Married and Counting” screens Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Rush Center, with an encore at the Midtown Art Cinema Friday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m. as part of Out On Film.