Reviews, Endorsements and Awards

One Wedding and...a Revolution

One Wedding and...a Revolution

Reveals the inspiration, motivation and political challenges at San Francisco City Hall during the frantic days leading up to the first government-sanctioned same-sex marriage.

Reviews | Endorsements | Awards


Educational Media Reviews Online
Highly Recommended
On February 12, 2004 the first same-sex marriage took place between Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, prominent lesbian rights activists, in San Francisco, California. Invited to film the event one hour before the wedding was about to begin, filmmaker, Debra Chasnoff, effectively captures the atmosphere of this highly emotional and politically significant ceremony. In addition to the footage of this historic occasion, this short documentary contains commentary by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; the mayor’s policy director, Joyce Newstat; city assessor, Mabel Teng; and the executive director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Kate Kendell, on the events leading up to the first marriages.

Due to a press embargo that kept TV crews from filming the event, this film provides unique, eye-witness documentation of this important moment in U.S. history, and the interviews with city officials provide genuine insight into the rationale behind Mayor Newsom’s contentious decision. This film succeeds at attaching human faces to an issue that is most commonly viewed through the lens of political rhetoric.

The Lesbian Life
Guide Rating
“Watch history in the making. Rarely does one get a front row seat to such a historic event. A well-made documentary that tells a great story.”

Bay Area Reporter
Filmmaker Captures First ‘I do’

Local filmmaker Debra Chasnoff had just walked into the Women’s Educational Media offices on Bryant Street around 9 a.m. last February 12 when her phone rang. On the line was her longtime friend, Joyce Newstat, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s policy director.

Newstat urged Chasnoff to rush down to City Hall in order to film the first same-sex couple to be married by San Francisco city officials that morning. Astounded, Chasnoff’s first reaction was one of disbelief.
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“This fast-paced and intimate window into a crucial turning point in American politics will jumpstart any discussion about one of the most controversial issues of our times.”
—Patricia A. Cain, Professor of Law, University of Iowa

One Wedding and a Revolution charts a history no one will forget. It brilliantly captures one of the most important moments in our civil rights struggle with two icons of our movement as its stars.
—Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

A polished, intimate look at the first San Francisco gay wedding between lesbian-rights pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon &[Chasnoff focuses] on back story, recounting the political forces that led to the wedding.
—Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle

“This film succeeds at attaching human faces to an issue that is most commonly viewed through the lens of political rhetoric.”
—Educational Media Reviews Online


Best Women’s Short, Cleveland International Film Festival

Special Jury Prize, Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Best Short Documentary, Fire Island Film and Video Festival

Audience Favorite, Fresno Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Audience Favorite, Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival

Audience Favorite and Best Short Film, Santa Barbara Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Best Short Documentary, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Film Festival