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Gay marriage rulings: Prop. 8 playwright Dustin Lance Black reflects

June 27, 2013|By David Ng
  • Dustin Lance Black wrote the play "8," based on the transcripts of the case formerly known as Perry vs. Schwarzenegger.
Dustin Lance Black wrote the play "8," based on the transcripts… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

When asked how Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will change his play "8," Dustin Lance Black responded simply: "I'm going to have to rewrite the ending." 

Black, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of "Milk," wrote the play "8" in response to the court battle over Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state.

The play, based on the transcripts of the case, had a high-profile staged reading in Los Angeles last year with an all-star cast that included George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, Martin Sheen and John C. Reilly.

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Wednesday's high-court ruling struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and separately cleared the way for sames-sex marriages in California. Speaking by phone Wednesday, Black said that when he first heard the decision, he shed a few tears and then thought of the "hundreds of thousands of gay men and lesbians who came out and shared their stories so that we could have this day and decision." 

Black said that the play "8" was conceived after he attended court proceedings for the case formerly known as Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, now known as Hollingsworth vs. Perry. 

"A movie takes years to make; a reading of a play takes months. So we decided to do a play," said Black. The play had a Broadway reading in 2011 followed by the L.A. event. Since then, it has been performed at schools and regional theaters around the country.

"I don't charge a dime for royalties of the play. It helps get the word across the country."

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The play was produced by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a nonprofit group that led the legal fight concerning Prop. 8. Black is board member of the group.

The writer said that he and the American Foundation for Equal Rights will continue to pursue the legalization of same-sex marriage in other states where it is not allowed. 

As for the play "8," Black said that he hopes there will one day be no need for the play: "In the long term, I hope to see it in the trash can."


George Clooney, Brad Pitt lead all-star Prop. 8 play reading

From a California courtroom to Broadway: A reading of the play '8'

'8,' a play about Proposition 8 by Dustin Lance Black, debuts March 3 in L.A.

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