The Year of Paper

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A 2007 feature documentary that asks how different is a "gay marriage" from a heterosexual one?

Production Information

Title: The Year of Paper

Co-Directors: Kelly Rouse and Nikki Parker

Year: 2007

Country: USA

Length: 91 min.

Language: English


When officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, this country went to war over a word. How different is a “gay marriage” from a heterosexual one?

THE YEAR OF PAPER chronicles the newlywed year of three couples -lesbian, heterosexual and gay- exploring why they got married and how saying “I Do” has changed their relationships. Although each newlywed year takes a different path, these couples deal with similar issues. Family acceptance of their relationship, finances, resolving conflict and starting a family of their own are among the experiences they share. In experiencing their everyday lives, we see the human faces behind this contentious issue.

While THE YEAR OF PAPER focuses on these three couples and their experiences, it also follows the firestorm of debate that surrounds the very idea of marriage for same-sex couples. Historians, activists, politicians, sociologists and clergy weigh in on the debate, examining the history of the institution and whether it should evolve to include same-sex couples.

The traditional first year anniversary gift is paper and it’s an appropriate symbol of the legal struggle two of the three couples endure as the validity of their marriage licenses is questioned. As we face a future in which over half of the states have constitutional amendments that ban same-sex marriage, we ultimately ask, is the life-long committed relationship of two women, or two men, so different from that of a man and a woman, that one word cannot describe it for them all?


Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival

The Rhode Island International Film Festival

The Austin International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Out on Film- Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

The Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Asheville Film Festival

Los Angeles Premiere- Let California Ring Fundraiser

San Francisco Premiere- Frameline at the Center


Recommended by Video Librarian- "While the political, sociological, and theological implications of the debate are weighed here, Rouse and Parker also tend to bring an endearing personal element to the discussion. reminds us of the basic human strengths and frailties that inform all relationships, regardless of gender schematics."- P. Hall