The Campaign

The inside story of California’s historic fight over Proposition 8 and for marriage equality.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
56 mins
Remote video URL


The Campaign follows the people behind California's historic No-on-8 campaign to defend same-sex marriage through exclusive behind the scenes footage, interwoven with the national history of same-sex relationship recognition since the 1950s.

Featured review

Equally poignant and inspiring, The Campaign offers fascinating insight into a pivotal moment in contemporary LGBTQ history. Its lucid attention to the personal stakes within political struggle makes it an indispensable resource for stimulating informed, thoughtful discussion. A complex, engaging, and deeply important film.
Michael Borgstrom
Associate Professor and Chair - Department of English and Comparative Literature Co-Director, LGBTQ Research Consortium, San Diego State University


The story focuses on an ensemble of five characters — Alison, Holli, Richard, Anne and Claudia — as they labor tirelessly to defeat Proposition 8, sacrificing time with the families they are fighting to protect. The film positions their efforts within the context of shifting legal and political landscapes, from Anita Bryant’s “Save our Children,” to the invention of the word “Domestic Partner” in San Francisco, to Pat Buchanan’s declaration of a “culture war,” and finally to the wave of marriage bans that swept 41 states across the nation. The shocking passage of Prop 8 in seemingly LGBT-friendly California changed the landscape forever, both for the US LGBT equality movement and for the individual activists who dropped what they were doing and threw themselves into the largest social issue campaign the US has ever seen. Featuring a beautiful score from the Kronos Quartet and Jacob Garchik, The Campaign emerges as an unprecedented installment of LGBT social history and a signature documentary on one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our times, ultimately providing a window into a timeless question: What inspires everyday people to opt in for something bigger than themselves?


The Campaign brings a critical political moment in US history to life. Filled with engaging personal stories and rare historical footage, this documentary is perfect for the university classroom.
Andrea Rees Davies
Associate Director, The Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University
The Campaign is an intimate portrayal of the impact of ballot measures like Proposition 8 on organizers, the community, and the country. It shows students the complexity of these large-scale campaigns and the people who work for them in a personal and effective manner. It puts Proposition 8 in a rich, long history of anti-gay ballot measures stretching all the way back to Anita Bryant and Dade County.
Amy Stone
author Gay Rights at the Ballot Box
This film not only captures an important moment in history--though it does that exceedingly well--it also provides insight into perennial themes of optimism, disappointment, family, community, and perseverance.
John Corvino
Chair, Department of Philosophy, Wayne State University
Proposition 8 will be remembered as a painful but pivotal moment in LGBT history, and no film captures that moment more in than The Campaign. Honest and compassionate, this film is essential viewing for students of LGBT history and American politics, as well as for faith and community groups who seek to understand how defeats are survived and movements are made.
Joanna Brooks
Professor and Assoc. Dean of Graduate and Research Affairs at San Diego State University
I doubt the filmmakers had any idea just how huge an impact Prop 8 was going have on the nation when they began filming The Campaign. Due to generations of discrimination, much of our collective history has been forgotten - some never recorded and some that disappeared when we lost a generation to AIDS. The Campaign is an excellent and fair documentation of one of the most important and galvanizing moments in LGBT history. We were proud to be able to share it with the progressive organizing community in Washington D.C.
Jamie McGonnigal
Community Director; New Organizing Institute

Awards and Screenings

US Public Television Broadcast
World Premiere at FRAMELINE, San Francisco LGBT Film Festival Frameline37, 2013
Creating Change Conference - The Task Force - Screening & Workshop, 2014
Stanford University - Clayman Institute for Gender Studies, 2014
UNC Wilmington LGBTQIA Center - Screening & Skype
San Diego State University - Screening & Lecture
West Virginia Wesleyan University - Screening and Lecture
Appalachian Queer Film Festival - Screening & Panel, 2014
Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church - Screening & Conversation, 2014
Crossroads Film Festival, Mississippi - Screening & Panel, 2014
George Mason University - Screening & Panel, 2014
Q-Fest - Houston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival - Screening & Lecture, 2013
New Organizing Institue National Office - Screening and Skype, 2014
Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, 2013
Out on Film - Atlanta LGBT Film Festival, 2013
Seattle Special Screening - SIFF Uptown Theater, 2013
Cinema Q - Denver LGBT Film Festival, 2013
North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, 2013

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • DVD Extras
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

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