Directed by: Macky Alston
New England Premiere
In 2003, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay bishop to be consecrated in the Episcopalian Church. LOVE FREE OR DIE follows him from his home in New Hampshire—where he lives with Mark, his partner of 20 years—to Canterbury, England, where the Anglican Communion bans him from attending its prestigious Lambeth Conference; to the Lincoln Memorial, where he delivers the invocation that kicks off President Barack Obama’s inaugural weekend. In each community, Robinson encounters both those who support his courage to be out and view him as a civil rights leader, and others who consider him a controversial, derisive figure whose sexuality defies biblical teachings.
Winner of the US Documentary Special Jury Prize for Grace under Pressure at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the film not only depicts Robinson as a pioneer in his profession, but also presents a candid, well-rounded portrait of a man who, in his own words, is “unabashedly gay [and] unabashedly Christian.” His sense of humor shines through in an appearance on The Daily Show, but he’s also serious when advocating love and justice—most notably in a church service preceding New York City’s annual Gay Pride Parade. As he meets with other bishops in the Episcopalian Church to vote on the issues of whether to consecrate homosexual clergy and whether to recognize same-sex marriage in states where it is legal, we see how Robinson’s decision to come out has brought about a significant dialogue within an institution.