To: Edwin L. Carpenter, Dove Foundation's Film Reviews Editor
Family Film Reviewer Won't Approve Films Featuring Loving LGBT Families: Fight Back!
Reverse the decision to deny "Family-Approved" status to "Love Free or Die," the moving story of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson.
Why is this important?
In April, "Love Free or Die" – the story of the first openly gay bishop Gene Robinson – was denied a family-approved rating by the Dove Foundation, a family film reviewer. Why? "Two men kiss and hold hands" and "many people state they are gay."
As a minister who pastors to loving LGBT families, including a family shown in the film (two committed dads and the 4 at-risk children they adopted), I cannot emphasize enough that more families need to see "Love Free or Die." It is a film about love, family, and faith, as well as equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters.
"Love Free or Die" shares a message that all of our families and children need to explore together: that our faiths and values teach us to love each other and our neighbors, no exceptions.
The Dove Foundation exercises a lot of power by narrowing the choices for parents deciding what films are appropriate for their children. It's clear now that Dove focuses not only on the appropriateness of the content (violence and drug use, for example), but also, alarmingly, on what constitutes a family (no LGBT families need apply).
It's alarming because many film industry studios, like Fox Home Entertainment, include the Dove “Family-Approved” Seal on all nationally marketed Dove-approved DVDs.
Is "Love Free or Die" really the same as "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D," which also is not Dove-approved?
I know from experience that you can't help but be positively moved by the love displayed in "Love Free or Die."
The film inspires conversations about love and commitment, faith and God, equality and dignity, that make our families stronger, and lay the foundation for our children to grow up as people of faith and values.
Now, as a family film reviewer that writes their reviews based on Judeo-Christian values, the Dove Foundation has the opportunity to say that movies like "Love Free or Die," which show loving families, gay and straight, are faith- and family-approved!
The faith that I know doesn't teach Love Only Thy Straight Neighbor.
In fact, the church where I met Fred and Michael, one of the loving gay couples in Love Free or Die, decided not to perform marriages until same-sex couples could marry. Fred and Michael chose the church because it was a welcoming church for them and their children.
Fred and Michael also chose that church for its strong family-focus. Together they had adopted 4 at-risk children, conquering the challenge of raising kids who would have otherwise had a tough life with love and devotion. Fred and Michael saw this as God’s work.
Together, we can raise our voices to tell the Dove Foundation that the incredible stories of loving LGBT families – like Bishop Gene Robinson's, like Fred and Michael's – make our families stronger by illustrating a love that our faiths teach: one that embraces all.