Opinion

Commentary: One man's crusade against gay marriage

Kelly McAllister, left, and her wife, Marci Burba, both of Sacramento, attend a gay rights rally protesting the passage of California's Proposition 8 at Cesar Chavez park on Nov. 13, 2008, in Sacramento, California. (Autumn Cruz/Sacramento Bee/MCT)
Kelly McAllister, left, and her wife, Marci Burba, both of Sacramento, attend a gay rights rally protesting the passage of California's Proposition 8 at Cesar Chavez park on Nov. 13, 2008, in Sacramento, California. (Autumn Cruz/Sacramento Bee/MCT) MCT

The most effective man fighting to deny the right of gay marriage in America is Frank Schubert of Sacramento.

Schubert ran the successful Yes on Proposition 8 campaign last year, the initiative banning gay marriage in California.

This week, when Maine voted to repeal a new law allowing gay marriage, Schubert was again the pivotal organizer.

If conventional wisdom on gay marriage inevitability were a balloon, Schubert would be the needle.

His win in California galvanized Yes on Prop. 8 believers from the right and left — from black to white to Latino and Asian. His win in Maine halted a tide of momentum for gay marriage in several states.

"The premise (of gay marriage) is wrong," Schubert said from his office near the Capitol. "Advocates want people to believe they are on the right side of history. They are not."

Schubert was outnumbered and outspent in Maine, a supposedly libertarian state where "live and let live" is a regional mantra. Unlike California, gay advocates in Maine highlighted their personal stories of love. Whenever Schubert struck with one of his cunning and subtle TV ads, his opponents responded immediately - unlike California's disjointed No on Prop. 8 campaign.

Schubert still won, getting about 53 percent of the vote. He tweaked the same California playbook for victory: diminishing a civil rights argument with TV ads exploiting the idea that kids would constantly be exposed to gay marriage teachings in school.

Schubert is a master of changing the subject.

National polls were trending for gay marriage, but Schubert never believed them. "In their hearts, voters do not support same-sex marriage," he said.

Schubert is so hard to beat because he embodies the deeply held intolerance for gay marriage in America. His beliefs are rooted in a Catholic faith and biblical passages condemning gay sex.

He is a genuinely nice man who is fantastic at what he does - a true believer with mad communication skills. He does feel compassion for the unfortunates in his path, but not mercy.

"You just don't kick centuries of tradition in marriage to the curb," he said. "I'm fighting for a larger principle but take no pleasure in hurting anyone."

Schubert's success makes him a target. He's been vilified on Internet message boards and Facebook. He's had many awkward moments in Sacramento where he's "the minority on this issue."

He also realizes that with success comes a price: That this issue obscures everything else in his thriving public affairs practice.

Being Mr. Anti-Gay Marriage could stick forever, though he hopes not.

"I hope," he said, "that (people) will look at my body of work and not this one issue."

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