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The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, February 12

Jim Burroway

February 12th, 2013

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Premiere of “Making Love”: 1982. Starring Michael Ontkean, Charlie’s Angels star Kate Jackson, and Harry Hamlin, Making Love opened in theaters as the first mainstream film to tackle homosexuality in a nonjudgemental way. That’s not to say that the story wasn’t without drama when Zach (Ontkean) and Claire (Jackson) dealt with a crumbling marriage as Zach struggled to deal with his attractions to other men. When he meets gay novelist Bart McGuire (Hamlin), their professional relationship (Zach was a doctor, Bart a patient who was in for a check-up) turned into a lunch date, then a dinner date, and then a full-fledged relationship, which over time, ends in a divorce for Zach and Claire. Claire handles the news badly, but over time comes to understand that gay people can live happy lives. The film’s happily-ever-after ending had the feel of a made-for-TV movie which critics hated. Gay critics, however, were overjoyed that the film was a positive portrayal where the gay characters didn’t all die in the end.

In real life however, the film demonstrated one significant difficulty in making mainstream movies about gay men: it seemed to confirm the fear that taking such a role would be career killers. Tom Berenger, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, William Hurt and Peter Strauss were all approached to play Zach; they all turned the role down. After the film’s release Ontkean and Hamlin had trouble living the film down. Hamlin’s promising career stalled for the next four years until he landed a role in NBC’s L.A. Law. Ontkean tried to prevent clips of his role from appearing in Vito Russo’s 1996 documentary The Celluloid Closet.

SF Mayor Grants Same-Sex Marriages: 2004. It was a stunning announcement, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared that the California Constitution’s equal protection clause gave him the authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Between February 12 and March 11, 2004, an estimated 4,000 joyous couples lined up at City Hall to take part in what was quickly dubbed “The Winter of Love.” But the weddings came to an abrupt halt when the California Supreme Court declared that the mayor lacked the authority to bypass state law. All of those marriage licenses were voided, and same-sex marriage would remain unavailable until 2008 when the state Supreme Court found that “equal respect and dignity” of marriage is a “basic civil right” for all couples in California, gay or straight. That finding was overturned by Prop 8 in 2008, which itself was ruled unconstitutional in 2010. That ruling was upheld by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week. But a stay against the resumption of marriages remains while the case continues is long journey to an expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Comments

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Paul
February 12th, 2013 | LINK

It looks like the report on the “Winter of Love” needs some updating. The 9th Circuit ruling was a year ago and the case is already at the Supremes.

Jim Burroway
February 12th, 2013 | LINK

Yes, it does. I’m down with the flu, and it literally hurt my head to look at the screen last night. Hopefully I’ll feel a little better today.

Charles
February 12th, 2013 | LINK

It really is odd that male actors used to run away from gay characters in movies and TV. Not so much in today’s world.

I am suffering from the worst cold I’ve had in over two decades. It is finally winding down but I’ve now had it for two weeks. I got it from my grand nephew who is about to turn two.

cowboy
February 13th, 2013 | LINK

The Daily Agenda is missing (for Wednesday). So, I am to assume Mr. Burroway is NOT feeling better.

Get well soon, Jim. That ‘bug’ that is going around is a bad one.

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