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Revisiting a landmark film in the wake of DOMA defeat

Waltham resident Stephanie Higgins, who earned a master’s degree in visual media arts from Emerson College in 2000, was at her desk job back in November 2003 when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. “I burst into tears. It was an atypical emotional reaction,” she recalls. With a camera and a crew made up of friends from Emerson, Higgins headed to the State House to chronicle the ensuing protests and political drama, set against the personal story of Massachusetts couple Gayle Green and Lorre Fritchy as they approached May 17, 2004 — the first date same-sex couples could file for marriage licenses in the Bay State.

Higgins’s 50-minute film, “The Gay Marriage Thing,” released in 2005, was the first film about the battle for equal marriage in Massachusetts. (The first feature-length documentary, “Saving Marriage” from LA-based filmmakers Mike Roth and John Henning, was released a year later.) “The Gay Marriage Thing” (inset) played the festival circuit around New England. The DVD was reissued in 2009 with extras, including an update on Green and Fritchy, who’d become parents.

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