“BALLOT MEASURE 9”–America as she is

“Ballot Measure 9”

America as She Is

Amos Lassen

“Ballot Measure 9” tells the story in a documentary of the 1992 struggle to defeat the anti-gay ballot iniative in Oregon and a chilling and sobering tale it is as it shows the context of the movement at large. You would not expect a film on a subject like this to be uninteresting but it is quite though provoking and provocative at the same time. Heather MacDonald who wrote and directed the film, it looks carefully at the hysteria and hatred which was brought about by those in opposition to “special rights for gays and lesbians”. These people were urged onward by members of the Christian right. It is quite easy to see how the director tried very hard to maintain a balance between the pros and the cons of the measure but the true empathy of the film lies with those who organized themselves and others to oppose and defeat the measure. These were laws that would have denied legal recourse against discrimination in housing and employment to homosexuals. Likewise ballot measure 9 would have prevented cities from enacting their own legislation for civil rights for gays and lesbians.

MacDonald was able to interview many of the more virulent opponents to the measure and thereby gives us a very important look at a significant document in the history of our civil rights. Here is a wonderful documentary on the horrendous attempt of the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance to destroy equal rights in this country. We get to see the moments of victory and those of defeat on both sides of the issue. This movie is a good instrument to be used to frighten people of the hatred that exists in America and movies like this can stir the citizenry to action to defeat the propaganda and insecurities that organizations like the Oregon Citizen’s Council promote.

“Ballot Measure 9” should be required viewing for all Americans because it so beautifully shows how the denial of rights to one group affects the entire country.

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