New Documentary Examines 2009 Struggle for Marriage Equality in Maine

A new documentary called “Question 1” is scheduled to be released in the near future by Fly on the Wall Productions, and will examine the emotionally charged campaigns surrounding marriage equality in Maine in 2009.

The film chronicles first-hand accounts from advocates both for and against marriage, and reflects on what it calls “a battle whose political symbolism is a bellwether for the greater ideological battlefield in American politics.”

Maine became the first state to legislatively grant marriage equality on May 6, 2009. But after months of backlash from anti-equality advocates, the state reversed its decision on November 3, 2009, joining 30 other states in refusing marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. The film reveals that the “Yes on 1” campaign chairman, Marc Mutty, was aware of the hostile atmosphere in which much of the anti-equality campaign played out and the lack of truth behind many of his campaign’s assertions. “We use a lot of hyperbole and I think that’s always dangerous,” he says, for example, during a Yes on 1 strategy session. In another segment, he admits, “This has been awful. I hate it … I fear I’ll be remembered for the work I did on this campaign.”

The film also includes in-depth interviews with Jesse Connolly, the campaign manager behind “No on 1/Protect Maine Equality,” who expressed his disappointment at the end of Election Day. “When I woke up and walked out this door, I really thought I was heading into a day that was going to change our state and the country forever. I really thought we were about to do it … At the end of the day, these people deserve to get married, and I couldn’t get it done for them,” he said tearfully.

The documentary was co-directed by filmmakers Joe Fox and James Nubile, who were granted permission by both pro- and anti-marriage advocates to document the referendum campaign, provided it was not released until after the election. This allowed them to examine the campaigns’ leaders from a different perspective. “I think we went beyond the obvious and were able to capture the humanity of all sides involved,” Fox commented.

Watch the trailer below:

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More information is available on the movie's official website, and more clips can be found on its Facebook page. It is set to be released in theatres late this summer or fall.

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