Nowadays, the same-sex marriage is a very hot topic. It was impossible to imagine several decades ago, but now this kind of marriage is legalized in eighteen countries in the world. A huge amount of famous people express the support for gay and lesbian couples. Many world-known writers, politicians, actors, and artists consider the legalization of the same-sex marriages as the evidence of the triumph of the democracy and the equality of all people. This issue is examined by the different artworks and social surveys. It often becomes the reason of the hot debates in press and internet since it has always been a thorny subject.
Recently, an interest in this issue has been heated by the actions of the different social organizations and its promotion in press and art. Moreover, there was a number of demonstrations and parades that were aimed at the protection of the gay and lesbian rights. Famous and respectful journals can put this topic on the cover page. A number of modern writers have provided a research of the same-sex relationship problem in their books. Special attention is paid to this theme by the modern cinema industry. The artists express different points of view on this social issue. Nevertheless, the depth of the problem is always treated with all the seriousness. The following paper will describe how the same-sex marriage is depicted in media and different types of art. The debates about the problem of the legalization of the same-sex marriage have been often held in the 20th century. However, the topic has become especially popular during the last two decades. Thus, the analysis provided in the essay will cover the time period from 1990 to 2015.
The General Analysis of the Problem in 1990-2015
First of all, it is necessary to mention that in the period under consideration, a number of countries have legalized the same-sex marriage. Plenty of gay and lesbian organizations have been holding peaceful demonstrations with the slogan “Will you marry me? Now it is legal”. “In 2013, more than 7,000 same-sex marriages were registered only in France. The approximately the same number of such weddings was noted in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain, where such unions are legalized”. The public opinion is strict, thus, the society has reacted harshly. Many people believe that same-sex marriage should not be legalized because it is against the moral. There were waves of indignation at several countries.
Over 500 thousand people came on to the demonstration to protest against the law on the legalization of same-sex marriages in Paris. This was stated by the organizers of the shares. According to police, the march involved only 80 thousand people. In Lyon, the police counted 20,000 demonstrators to "Manifestation for all". The organizers announced 40 thousand participants.
However, more and more countries start considering the same-sex relationship as a morally acceptable act. This process has found the reflection in art and press. A plenty of famous artists and politicians express the support for the same-sex couples and marriages. Colin Farrell has written an open letter in order to voice his approval of the legalization of gay marriage. Explaining his position, Farrell told the story of his elder brother, Eamon, who had been forced to leave his native country to marry his partner Stephen (Collin Farrel). Moreover, the most famous living Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has expressed his positive attitude to same-sex marriage. According to Murakami, he has a lot of friends and acquaintances who are gay. In addition, he has noted that he knows many gay couples who got married in the United States (Haruki Murakami). The writer has described several lesbian and gay characters in his novels including transgender men Oshima in "Kafka on the Shore" and bodyguard gay Tamara in "1Q84". The same-sex relationships are depicted in his latest novel "The colorless Sakura Tadzaki and his travels". Moreover, Uma Thurman has visited the party of the organization "Marriage for Equality USA", which advocates for the legalization of the same-sex marriage in the United States (Uma Thurman). In the political field, Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes that the Supreme Court will side with same-sex couples (Hillary Clinton). Furthermore, the prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, has married his partner, Gauthier Destenay. It has been the first public same-sex marriage of a European Union leader (Gay PM Xavier Bettel).
The Problem of Same-Sex Marriage as Depicted in Press
The problem of same-sex marriage is widely covered in media. Only in 2013, there were plenty of respectful journals which raised this issue. Without a doubt, the most famous of such cases is The Times cover page of September 2014. It came out with two covers which depicted two gay couples kissing. The headline said, "Gay marriage has already won. The Supreme Court has not yet decided, but America has". Moreover, the French version of the international magazine about fashion and beauty ELLE has announced its support for the gay and lesbian marriage. The slogan "Marriage is for everyone!" was written on the cover of the January edition. Two models, who were dressed in the white dresses and, apparently, depicted the brides, were put on the cover page. Besides, the huge attention was paid to the cover of the January edition of the Time Out Chicago magazine. It was very creative and provocative. It was the variation of the well-known picture depicting a sailor and a nurse kissing at Times Square in New York after the announcement of the surrender of Japan. The main characters were replaced by the gay couple. By the way, The New Yorker made almost the same cover in 1996. In 2014, this magazine put the picture of two mothers, a lesbian couple, who have received flowers and a gift card from their children on the cover page in honor of the Mother's Day. At the height of the discussion concerning the bill on the prohibition of the same-sex marriage legalization and a homosexual propaganda, The New Times magazine devoted a number to married non-traditional couples and homophobia in the world. The cover page depicted Lean and Luc Strendceast-Kanino hugging after their wedding ceremony. In April 2013, the French parliament approved a law on same-sex marriages. On this occasion, the newspaper Liberation came with the cover where the famous photo artists Pierre and Gilles were presented as a married couple. And finally, on the eve of the premiere of the film "Behind the Candelabra", The New York Magazine placed Michael Douglas with make-up on his face on the cover. Additionally, Jared Leto has recently played the role of the HIV-positive transvestite in the film "Dallas Buyers Club", and, in the same way, he has appeared on the cover of Candy Magazine. Thus, the examined issue is widely covered in media. This is only a small number of the cases when the well-known journals express their support for the same-sex marriage.
The Problem of Same-Sex Marriage as Depicted in Photography
The photography is the art of the time stopping. It gives a wide number of opportunities to the artist. Moreover, it depicts the life as it is. The photos are the documentary testimonies of the world’s changes. The hot topic of the same-sex marriage attracts the photographers from the whole world.
There is a huge amount of the gay and lesbian art photographs on the Internet. One can note one of the most interesting and unusual photographers in the world who develops the same-sex relationship and marriage theme in his works. His name is Anry Loan, and he is native Spaniard. This artist holds the first place on the list of those who pay the attention to this complicated issue. He has been practicing the art of photography for thirty-five years. Being gay himself, Anry gives consideration to the problems of gay and lesbian people. The pain and suffering of the individuals who have been forced to face the social disapprobation because of their sexual orientation are the main leitmotifs of his works. Loan travels around Europe and takes pictures of the gay and lesbian couples. His works are amazing and full of real life and pain. In his photos, Anry Loan shows both people who have been able to resist the public opinion and conviction of their lifestyle and choice and those who have not demonstrated a will to do it.
Interestingly, he takes photos of the happy couples on the background of their everyday life. For example, one of his works depicts the old gay couple in the backyard of their house sitting together and looking forward with sad smiles on their faces. One can conclude that they are married as it is demonstrated by the wedding rings on their fingers. This artwork is amazingly moving and full of sense. “In the deep wrinkles on the men faces one can see all the pain that they used to feel during their personal struggle against the social and moral prohibition”. However, the light of the sunbeams on the walls of their house and the ground behind them can be considered as a symbol of the victory over the hostility of the world. The plot of the photo is simple, but if considering it carefully, it is very impressive.
The other work that one needs to pay attention to is the photo named “The Graces” since it is full of philosophical sense, too. The picture shows two naked young girls standing on the different sides of the wall. There are white wedding veils on their heads. The girls’ faces are sad and disquiet. The black and white palette gives the photography great expressiveness. The photo describes the invisible curtains that the society has established between the non-traditional couples. Furthermore, it reveals the obstacles that the gay and lesbian couples are forced to overcome in order to get married.
Anry Loan is able to give a new look at the same-sex marriage problem. His works have been presented on the exhibitions all over the globe. He has been invited by the plenty of world-known galleries to display his photographs.
Additionally, it is necessary to note the work of the photographer who is not famous but, without a doubt, very gifted. Her name is Sophia Hikonne. She is an Italian painter and photographer. There is no evidence about her own sexual orientation, but she pays a great attention to the same-sex marriage issue in her works. One of her pictures that depicts a lesbian couple reveals this problem with an amazing deepness. One woman is dressed in the wedding dress, and the other is wearing a black man’s suit. They are standing on the background of the ruined city and confidently holding hands. One can make a conclusion that this painting stands for the non-traditional couples’ rights for marriage and happiness.
Furthermore, the American photographer, Lee Addins, can be put in the list of the workers of visual arts who consider and develop the same-sex relationship and marriage theme in their works. Although he does not make the stage photo session, he reveals this issue in his own way. His passion is taking pictures of the same-sex marriages, the ordinary life of the non-traditional couples, and especially, the couples with children. “Lee Addins does not put his own idea into the plot of the photo, but the life does it instead of him”. He just makes the documentary testimonies of the human right to be happy without any barriers. Thus, in this way, the same-sex relationships and marriage theme is considered in the visual arts.
The Problem of Same-Sex Marriage as Depicted in Cinema
It is not surprising that hot topics have always been very popular in the cinema art. The questions that have no clear answers have attracted the movie-makers from the whole world. The complicated moral issues can give the creators of the films a huge field for the story development. Actually, depicting the psychological life of the human with the non-traditional sexual orientation is a very interesting and challenging task for the actor. Thus, a number of the filmmakers and screenwriters consider the same-sex relationships and marriage in their works.
As the result of the increasing interest in the same-sex relationships, the absolutely new and specific form of cinema art was born. It has got the name “New Queer Cinema” or “Queer New Wave”. “The famous American film critic and producer B. Ruby Rich was first who introduced this term in a number of publications in the early 90-ies. She described the films covering various aspects of the gay culture that have appeared at the festival "Sundance" in Canada”.
It should be noted that the same-sex relationship theme appeared in American cinema in the early 40s. At that time, it was mostly revealed by the avant-garde pictures. “In this direction, such filmmakers as Kenneth Anger, Gregory Markopulis, Curtis Herrington can be noted. Their films were characterized by the ultra-low budget, independence from the major studios, and, not surprising, the almost total absence of the viewers”. Later, the movies depicting the same-sex relationship themes were usually made by the representatives of the sexual minorities.
However, Queer New Wave revealed a large number of talented filmmakers for the world. For example, today Andy Warhol’s movies are considered the perfect sample of the homoerotic ones. The new young filmmakers’ ability to create the versatile provocative pictures on the foundation of the same-sex theme have had a strong impact on the independence of the American and, later, European cinema. The producers and directors have used various approaches to lighting the issues of sexuality from different perspectives. There could be both a homoerotic admiration and a morbid aversion. The genres of the films range from the cynical black comedies to the ruthless tragic dramas. Only the theme is the unifying factor. Today, the New Queer Cinema involves the independent films about the sexual minorities. These motion pictures are usually low-budget. Often, they are financed by the charitable foundations. The creativity of the filmmakers of New Queer Cinema has had a great impact on the Hollywood, where the films about gays and lesbians have begun to emerge and started to be recognized. The film "Brokeback Mountain", which is based on the love story of gay cowboys, received eight nominations for "Oscar" in 2006 and won three of them. This event caused a wide resonance in the media because it is actually the first movie about love between men nominated for such a number of "Oscars". However, the Academy was able to avoid the status of the "blue Oscar" because the award for the best film did not go to the "Brokeback Mountain".
Nowadays, the films which discuss the same-sex relationship and marriage theme are “characterized by the seriousness of the approach for examining the aspects of such relationships. Thus, the humiliating or operational approaches are not acceptable”. Moreover, people with non-traditional sexual orientation usually participate in filmmaking as writers, directors, producers or actors. Another characteristic feature of the queer cinema is the fact that the gay audience, whose points of view are often radically different from the generally accepted ones, classifies the picture to the genre of "queer".
If to be more specific, the way in which the same-sex relationship and marriage theme is considered in the cinema can be examined with the help of the film “Live, please” by Armin Dane. It should be noted that even the first Armin Dane’s steps in the cinema brought him success. In 2007, he received the "Silver Bear" at the Berlin International Film Festival for his graduation short film. In 2010, his first full-length work took the award at the Berlinale festival.
“Live, please” can be considered as high-quality modern drama. The plot revolves around the life of the young man, Till. He leads an ordinary simple life, has a wife and an ordinary job. Once, Till falls in love with another man. He wants to be with his lover, but he cannot because the same-sex marriages are strongly condemned in the society he lives in. They both suffer a lot, but they cannot afford to be together. Till and his lover have a dream to go to Paris to get married. When they are almost ready to do it, Till’s ex-wife kills him. This film provides a tragic picture of the inability to accept the same-sex marriage as a normal part of life. In “Live, please”, the same-sex marriage is depicted as desirable but an unachievable thing. Till’s wife does not want to accept him with his worldview, as well as modern society is generally not able to consider the same-sex marriage as an inalienable right of every human.
One more film depicting the examined issue is “Any Day Now” by Travis Fine. Although it is a comedy, the problem under analysis is considered seriously in the movie. It is based on a true story. A gay couple adopts a boy with Down's syndrome who is refused by the drug addict mother. The film depicts the personal struggle of the main characters against the social dispraise. The pain and sufferings the gay parents are forced to feel are described in a comic approach. After going through the barriers, the main characters manage to acquire the right for happiness. They get married and adopt the boy. This film presents the same-sex marriage as an act of the equity. It states that all people have equal rights regardless of the gender identity and sexual orientation.
Nowadays, the same-sex relationship and marriage theme is very popular. The society is separated into those who consider it an inherent right and personal choice of every human, and those who believe that it is morally unacceptable. However, there is a huge amount of artists, writers, and politicians who pay attention to this issue in order to find the solution to it. Different artworks are able to help to make it clearer. They disclose what price the representatives of the sexual minorities pay carrying the fight against the discrimination. Perhaps, the films, photographs and the other types of artworks will help the humanity to take a new look at this complicated issue.