10/07/2013 10:02 am ET Updated Oct 07, 2013

'Bridegroom,' Heartbreaking Documentary About Unmarried Gay Couple, To Premiere On OWN

On Sunday, Oct. 27, OWN will present a special night of programming focusing the conversation around being gay in America. Oprah will begin the night with an in-depth conversation with gay celebrities including comedienne Wanda Sykes, "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and "Scandal" star Dan Bucatinsky on "Oprah's Next Chapter," which will be followed by the world television premiere of the groundbreaking documentary, "Bridegroom."

"Bridegroom," directed by Linda Bloodworth Thomason ("Designing Women"), tells the emotional journey of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship cut tragically short. In 2011, Bridegroom died when he fell off a rooftop while taking photos of a friend.

The story of what happened after Bridegroom's accidental death -- of how Crone found himself completely shut out and ostracized by family members -- is poignant, provoking and opens a window into the issue of marriage equality and human rights.

"I received a phone call from one of Tom's relatives, and she wanted to let me know that I wasn't welcome to attend his funeral," Crone says in the trailer above. "Because if I do show up, his uncle and his father had planned an attack."

To document his grief, Crone made a video tribute to his partner on the anniversary of his death entitled, "It Could Happen to You." The video went viral and has garnered over four million views. Although it was a cathartic process for Crone and a tribute to the love of his life, more than anything, he says he wanted it to serve as a warning to other LGBT couples -- to show the world what can happen when two people are legally barred from having equal rights and equal protections under marriage laws.

"Bridegroom" piercingly conveys a love story through a vast amount of personal footage and photographs from Bridegroom's and Crone's lives growing up and their relationship together.

The film has earned numerous accolades, including audience awards at the TriBeca Film Festival, where it was introduced by President Bill Clinton, who said: "This ("Bridegroom") is really -- on one level -- a wonderful, sad, heartbreaking yet exhilarating and life-affirming story, and on another level it's a story about our nation's struggle to make one more step in forming a more perfect union, for which marriage is both the symbol and substance."

"Bridegroom" premieres Sunday, Oct. 27 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.



Gay Marriage In The United States