Local Filmmaker Advocates for Gay Marriage Rights

Filmmaker Cassie Jaye readies the premiere of her second documentary, 'The Right to Love,' which follows gay parents as they battle discrimination.

When making documentaries that advocate for gay rights or sex education in schools, filmmaker Cassie Jaye comes face to face with her upbringing.

“When I’m interviewing people who don’t necessarily agree with same-sex marriage or comprehensive sex education, I know where they’re coming from because I used to be that person," the former evangelical Christian said.

Jaye is currently arranging a screening of her second film, The Right to Love, at the . The movie, which follows a gay couple and their two adopted kids, will premiere at the Castro Theater in San Francisco on Feb. 6.

Fed up with the ignorance and misinformation surrounding same-sex parenting, the film’s protagonists Brian and Jay Leffew decide to record and upload videos on Youtube showing how normal and functional their family is. 

Jaye heard about the Leffews when the couple first began posting videos in the wake of Proposition 8--the ballot initiative passed in 2008 that eliminated the rights for gay couples to marry.

Now, three years later, her film depicting their struggles and the struggles of countless other same-sex couples will be touring at film festivals, colleges, churches and non-profits for the next 12 months.

With the help of LGBT rights non-profit Liberty Education Forum, The Right to Love will be viewed in Washington, D.C., where Jaye hopes it will inspire legislation.

"We really want The Right to Love to be a conversation starter, not an experience that ends with the credits,” she said.

Jaye began working in film as an actress in Los Angeles when she was 18. The writer's strike in 2008 rendered her jobless and so she decided make herown films instead.  

"Going behind the camera made perfect sense to me," the Larkspur resident said. "I just fell in love with it."

Her first documentary, Daddy I Do, compared abstinence-only instruction with comprehensive sex education in US schools. 

Although she began the project without any expectations, Daddy I Do soon garnered immense acclaim, culminating with the Best Documentary Award at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Jaye soon banded together with her sister, mother, stepfather and uncle to form Jaye Bird Productions, which is based in Larkspur.

Daddy I Do, was screened at the Smith Rafael Theatre last year as a fundraising event for Marin's Huckleberry Youth Programs, the county's leading provider of sexual education.

The Rafael’s screening of The Right to Love will benefit the Spectrum LGBT Center. 

Although Jaye grew out of what she calls a “bible-believing, church-going bubble,” she produced her films wanting to avoid a preaching tone.

"Jaye Bird productions is all about just sharing the story and letting viewers make their own opinions," she said.

Keep up to date with Jaye Bird Productions.


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