(Above: Scene from the film.)

On February 7, 2017, St. Matthew Catholic Parish (Long Beach) in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will host a screening of the pro-gay marriage film “Inspired: The Voices Behind Prop 8.” According to an announcement from the Parish’s gay-affirmative LGBT outreach – Comunidad:

“Arresting live footage follows average people from all walks of life, inspired to action in ways they never dreamed. Experience the passionate rallies and defiant marches of the new gay rights movement as it swept through Southern California. Intimate interviews reveal all the ways the movement comes together, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways it can be pulled apart from within. INSPIRED: THE VOICES AGAINST PROP 8 goes behind the headlines and propaganda to explore the real people who make up a movement. The producer of Inspired, Charlie Gage, will be present to answer your questions.”

During the November 2008 California state elections, over 52% of voters passed Proposition 8 which sought to ban same-sex marriage with the following amendment to the California Constitution: “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” But same-sex couples immediately filed lawsuits, and in 2010 Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. But that decision did not go into effect until 2013 after the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision rejected the final appeal by the proposition’s proponents; thus paving the way for the later Obergefell case which legalized gay-marriage nationwide.

During the lead-up to the 2008 elections, the Bishops of the California Catholic Conference released a statement supporting the Proposition, including the Archbishop of San Francisco George Niederauer as well as his successor Salvatore Cordileone. One of the largest contributors to the campaign to pass Proposition 8 was The Knights of Columbus. But not everyone in the Church was supportive, the most vocal perhaps was Donal Godfrey S.J., who often splits his time between the University of San Francisco, where he was once in change of Campus Ministry, and the gay-affirmative parishes of Most Holy Redeemer and St. Agnes, in a 2012 homily he said: “…my conscience is against Prop 8. And while this is no place for a lecture, I see much in our social teaching and especially in the life of Jesus that supports the case for GLBTQQIA people to be treated as equals and no longer as second class citizens.”

In a 2012 interview following the films release, Charlie Cage, the producer of “Inspired,” said:

“It’s kind of incredible that we signed a distribution deal the same week as the Supreme Court is expected to make a statement about the Prop 8 case…We wouldn’t be here today without those first grassroots activist that took to the streets in L.A. night after night for weeks and made people pay attention. With four states putting marriage equality up for a vote, we need to share our struggles and learn how to win this fight.”

The dissident pro-gay Comunidad outreach has operated largely unchecked and unregulated within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles since 1986. The long-standing infamous reputation of the ministry even elicited a mention of the group by Courage founder Fr. John Harvey in his landmark 1996 work “The Truth About Homosexuality.”

For more information on Comunidad, see: