On June 26, 2003, the U.S Supreme Court ruled in favor of two gay men who had been arrested by police officers in Texas for having sex in their own home. The court maintained that the state could not “demean [the men’s] existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” x

Following this landmark decision, Newsweek magazine released a pair of covers that featured either a gay male couple or a lesbian couple alongside the question “Is Gay Marriage Next?”

A closeted teenage girl in Pennsylvania saw a happy lesbian couple on the cover of one of the most popular magazines in the country and found the courage to come out. Two decades later, she tracked them down to thank them for “giving her hope that a normal life was possible.”

Lauren Leslie and Elisabeth Noel Jones on the cover of Newsweek

That is the jumping-off point for this short documentary from director, Emily Clark. When she meets up with Lauren and Lis, they discuss the roadblocks that the couple initially faced when declaring their love to the world along with how things changed for the better over time. Finally, they revisit the question of “is gay marriage next?” from the standpoint of it potentially being the next to go–in light of Roe v. Wade being overturned in 2022 and the recent increase in anti-LGBT bills.

Is Gay Marriage Next? accomplishes a great deal in under sixteen minutes. The director seamlessly weaves her personal coming-out story into a larger conversation about the state of gay and lesbian rights in the U.S during her formative years. This documentary is engaging from start to finish. Additionally, it is informative and it highlights the importance of representation in the media. When Lauren and Lis posed for that Newsweek cover more than twenty years ago, they couldn’t have possibly imagined the profound effect that it would have on a young Emily Clark or on any of the other girls who saw them as living proof that happiness was possible.

Is Gay Marriage Next? will be making its way around the festival circuit soon. Keep an eye on their website or follow them on instagram to stay in the loop.