“QUESTION ONE”— The Battle for Same-Sex Marriage

“Question One”

The Battle for Same-Sex Marriage

Amos Lassen


“Question One “is a new documentary film about the struggle for same-sex marriage in America. Looking back to May 6, 2009 when Maine was the first state to legislatively grant the right to marry, we are taken forward to November 3, 2009 when Maine reversed this and became the thirty-first state to say no to same-sex marriage, This film follows both campaigns and shows us the battle that took place there and this battle became a watershed for the ideological war in American politics. Film directors Joe Fox and James Nubile gained access to both camps in this fight and the result is this film.

The film goes behind the scenes to show the campaigns both promoting and opposing the 2009 referendum in Maine that succeeded in overturning the state’s law allowing same-sex couples to marry. While it is easy to see that the filmmakers are in favor of the right to marry, we get a very fair picture of the opposition (with no commentary) as we watch them at meetings in churches and at political rallies. We do not often get to see this side of the issue. Marc Mutty leads the opposition and he tells us that he did not chose the job but that it was thrust on him and he really hates the idea that he has become the bigot. Nevertheless he takes great pride in his side’s victory and we sense his resentment for the public relations firm that spearheaded Proposition 8 and k takes the credit for the work done. Opposite Mutty is Darlene Huntress who took the position because she never thought she would ever see the day in her state where LGBT people were allowed to marry and so she became field manager for “No on One”.

Here if a person voted “yes” it meant no on the issue and this is one of the themes of the film. The goal of “No on One” was to get the citizens of Maine to allow the members of the LGBT community to love without marginalization. The PR firm that ran the opposition, ”Yes on 1” that backed California’s Proposition 8 insisted that they are not homophobes but instead believe that God wants marriage to be hetero and that homosexuality is a choice and that “gays shouldn’t be allowed to “redefine marriage” and/or “destroy straight marriage” to support that choice, and, hey, gays can get married all they want . . . so long as it’s to the opposite sex”. I always have wondered who God spoke to when he said that—as far as I can remember God has not had a personal conversation with anyone over the last 3000 years. Here again we see Mutty, the co-chair of the opposition admitting that “he’s on the wrong side of history and is miserable about being ordered by his diocese to fight this horrible fight, but he lacks the courage to say no to them. Some closets are ideological”.

Mutty realizes he had “no hope of promoting a less radical position, knowing that a fair campaign would almost inevitably end in defeat. Unsuccessfully trying to convince himself that the end justifies the means, he declaims, “This has been a fucking son of a bitch! I hate it!” Adding insult to injury, Schubert hides behind Mutty when the decision remains in doubt, maintaining the illusion of a grassroots campaign when in fact all marching orders flow from his California firm”.

What we also see here is some subtle bias that is against gay marriage especially within the Catholic church. However we are not told about the amount of money at the church’s disposal. Even with that this is an objective look at what went on and it is certainly a welcome addition to the canon of LGBT documentary film.


Leave a Reply