A Union in Wait

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A Union in Wait
A Union in Wait film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Ryan Butler
Produced byRyan Butler
Narrated byLisa Howes Yewdall
CinematographyRichard Clabaugh
Brian Nisbett
Edited byThomas Berndt
Music byJason Schuler
Distributed by Frameline, Sundance Channel
Release date
  • April 12, 2001 (2001-04-12)(Turin)
Running time
45 minutes
CountryUnited States
Susan Parker (right) and Wendy Scott (left) stand in front of Wake Forest University's Wait Chapel in this production still from A Union In Wait. SusanParker and Wendy Scott - A Union In Wait.jpg
Susan Parker (right) and Wendy Scott (left) stand in front of Wake Forest University's Wait Chapel in this production still from A Union In Wait.

A Union in Wait is a 2001 documentary film about same-sex marriage directed by Ryan Butler. It was the first documentary about same-sex marriage to air on national television in the United States. [1] [2] [3]



Susan Parker and Wendy Scott are members of Wake Forest Baptist Church. In 1997 the couple decided they wanted to have a union ceremony in Wake Forest University's Wait Chapel, but the traditionally Baptist university told them no. Susan Parker, Wendy Scott, their church, and many others joined to fight the school's decision in what would become a controversy that divided a community in North Carolina and made national headlines. Eventually (in 2000) Parker and Scott did have the ceremony at the chapel. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

The film includes interviews with Andrew Sullivan, Barney Frank, Robert Knight, Jimmy Creech, Fred Phelps, Candace Gingrich, Wake Forest University students, and local ministers. The film was shot primarily in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on the campus of Wake Forest University; but portions of the film were shot in Washington, D.C., at the Millennium March on Washington, Family Research Council headquarters, and Andrew Sullivan's house.


In 2001, the Sundance Channel licensed the film for television in the United States. A Union In Wait was also shown at numerous festivals around the world and distributed on video by Frameline. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] In 2015 Amazon Video made the film available online. [17]

Subsequent developments

Susan Parker now serves as the associate pastor of Wake Forest Baptist Church. [18] [19] Ryan Butler worked as a television editor in Washington, D.C., after the release of A Union In Wait for WJLA-TV, National Geographic Channel, and CNN. He was also elected to Washington's Advisory Neighborhood Commission. In 2009 he moved back to North Carolina where he worked for the North Carolina General Assembly. [20]

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Winston-Salem is a city in and the county seat of Forsyth County, North Carolina, United States. In the 2020 census, the population was 249,545, making it the second-largest municipality in the Piedmont Triad region, the 5th most populous city in North Carolina, the third-largest urban area in North Carolina, and the 90th most populous city in the United States. With a metropolitan population of 675,966, it is the 4th largest metropolitan area in North Carolina. Winston-Salem is home to the tallest office building in the region, 100 North Main Street, formerly known as the Wachovia Building and now known locally as the Wells Fargo Center.

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  2. Drusch, Andrea (17 March 2014). Fred Phelps: 10 things to know Politico
  3. Allen, Bob (22 March 2019). North Carolina Baptist church ordaining trans woman to gospel ministry Baptist News Global
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  12. 9 August 2002. RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - What's showing, The Providence Journal (confirming that film was presented at the Rhode Island International Film Festival in 2002; "A Union in Wait, documentary about a lesbian couple whose attempt to have a union ceremony in a college chapel divided a North Carolina town.")
  13. "Gay/Lesbian film fest has lots of variety". The Spokesman-Review. November 9, 2001. Archived from the original on July 18, 2020. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  14. (3 May 2001). , The Baltimore Sun (confirming presentation of film at Maryland Film Festival in 2001)
  15. "2002". Great Lakes International Fill Festival. Retrieved April 19, 2021.
  16. Jenkins, Mark (October 2001). A Union In Wait (brief review) Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine , Washington City Paper
  17. "Amazon.com:A Union In Wait" . Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  18. Parker, Susan & Yarber, Angela (3 February 2012). Opinion: Joining Baptists in defeating NC Amendment One Archived August 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine , Associated Baptist Press
  19. "Forest Baptist Church, Pastors" . Retrieved 2008-06-11.
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