In the next election cycle, a number of states have put the right-wing's favorite ballot measure up for a vote: to ban same-sex marriage. Efforts in both North Carolina and Minnesota are trying to amend their state constitutions to ban gay marriage. Voters in 31 states have recently backed initiatives to reserve the right to marry strictly to a man and a woman.
Against this highly politicized backdrop, a new documentary called "Question One" -- which is having its theatrical premiere in Maine this week (see the trailer below) -- shows just how nasty and underhanded these same-sex marriage campaigns can be--and the toll they take on local activists.
The film chronicles Maine's 2009 referendum on gay marriage, when 53% of the state's populace voted to repeat a state law allowing same-sex marriage, six months after the measure was passed by the Maine legislature and signed by the Democratic governor John Baldacci.
Personally, I haven't seen the film, but according to the Boston Phoenix, the film "lays bare the illusion that 'Yes on 1' was a grass-roots effort by Maine’s Roman Catholic and conservative Christian churches... Rather, the campaign was run by Schubert Flint Public Affairs, the California firm that used the same school-based fear tactics to choreograph California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2008."
But, perhaps of more note, an article in The Portland Press Herald, describes how the campaign is revealed to be misleading and unethical, with Marc Mutty,, who took leave from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine to help lead the anti-gay marriage campaign, "asking for forgiveness for the ways in which I may have betrayed my own self in this endeavor." At one point, Mutty refers to the campaign as a "fucking son of a bitch — I hate it, I hate it, I hate it."
Mutty grows increasingly troubled by Schubert Flint methods, which involve the false contention that gay marriage will lead to homosexuality being taught in public schools.
"We all use a lot of hyperbole and I think that's always dangerous," Mutty says. "You know, we say things like 'Teachers will be forced to [teach same-sex marriage]! Well, that's not completely accurate and we all know it, you know?"
Mutty also fears the campaign will make him remembered as the "star bigot in Maine."
North Carolina and Minnesota, take note.