In late October, I covered a media screening in Portland of the 90-minute documentary “Question One,” in which New York filmmakers Joe Fox (who is openly gay, in full disclosure) and James Nubile closely followed both the “Yes” and “No” campaigns engaged in the 2009 Maine gay marriage referendum.
What jumped out at many people who watched the documentary was that Marc Mutty, chairman of the “Yes on One” campaign — that’s “Yes” to repeal the previously passed Maine law recognizing gay marriages, as the referendum asked — was disgruntled about the involvement of Frank Schubert of the California-based Schubert Flint Public Affairs.
Mutty suggested on camera he was upset about Schubert taking over decision-making duties from across the country, overriding what Mutty seemed to feel would have been a more honest campaign (in particular, Mutty balked at advertisements suggesting that allowing gay marriage would force homosexuality into school classrooms full of young children).
Here’s a preview of the film that illustrates, in part, Schubert Flint’s involvement in the “No” campaign and hints at how Mutty feels about it:
On Feb. 1, the documentary will have its West Coast premiere in Schubert Flint’s home turf of Sacramento, Cal. A year before the Maine referendum, Schubert Flint successfully fought for the passage of Proposition 8, banning gay marriage in California.
This week in the Sacramento Bee, Schubert, who did not agree to interviews for the documentary and appears in the film as a participant in “Yes on One” strategy conference calls and public speeches, responded to questions about the documentary. Kind of.
To this point, Schubert had been largely silent on the topic.
Schubert told the Bee:
I have no plans to see the movie, and I already know how it ends. … The covering of the process of campaigns is something the media likes to do, but I don’t think it’s particularly interesting or particularly informing.
Of course, the folks from the “No on One” campaign have in past statements disagreed with that sentiment, saying the documentary reveals that even some “Yes” supporters were uncomfortable with the tactics used to achieve victory at the polls. EqualityMaine leaders are vowing to bring the issue back before voters again, perhaps as early as this year, and have warned Mainers to be wary of the content of anti-gay marriage advertisements after seeing the film.