Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A Documentary On The Overturning Of Same Sex Marriage In Maine
(Melissa McCue is working on a documentary on the overturn of Same Sex marriage entitled “Project Q1” . Her blog on the project can be found here: http://projectq1.blogspot.com/ and facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=211437005830&ref=mf )
When Andy asked me a few weeks ago to guest blog on his site, I was ecstatic! For a girl that runs a few different blogs, I feel like I finally made the big time. Guest Blogger? Who, Me? I’d like to thank the Academy first, then my supportive family for all they have done….
Andy has asked me to write a bit about a film project I am working on regarding same-sex marriage, the overturn of gay marriage in Maine, and why I’m doing this project. When I started this project, I thought it would be easy, quick, get a few highlighted points of people talking passionately, interject a few graphs and an occasional joke, and my documentary would be over. However, now that I’m 5 months in, 13 hours of tape filmed, countless statistics documented, numerous websites bookmarked….I feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland, am not sure how to get out, and where to start – so I’ll start with what has surprised me the most.
The state of Maine overturned same sex marriage on November 3rd, 2009, with a 51% majority. That majority was higher (64%) in the rural towns like Washington pop 1,200 (where I grew up). I went to my home town to find answers. I contacted everyone I could in that town that I still had a connection to. I had family friends contact old ladies down the street for an interview – and I have yet to find a single person to stand up for the majority and state why they voted the way they did.
Let me say that again: I have yet to find a single person in the MAJORITY to come forward. The minority group is happy to talk, is passionate about the cause, and has told all their friends to contact me. Even people who aren’t gay are happy to step forward in support of why they voted, even though the ballot wasn’t in their favor. The people who voted IN THE MAJORITY say “it’s over, let it go”, won’t come forward, and stay hidden. These are the people that I grew up with, went to school with, and have personally known my entire life, yet they refuse to speak to me on (or off) the record about why they voted the way they did.
I’m perplexed. I have some theories, including that people don’t want to overtly come out and say why they are against other individuals without the support of a rally, church, or other big-group to protect them. When you cut one sheep from the herd there is a lot more pressure on the individual.
This is also akin to my theory of the “Michael Moore Effect”. A liberal filmmaker goes to a small town to purposefully get people off guard, capture sound bites and cut it to fit a liberal agenda. I assure you, that is not what I’m setting out to do. I honestly want to understand why people voted the way they did. I’m not a 250lb guy from Detroit with a huge budget, and I don’t have the razor sharp wit to pull off a toe-to-toe battle. I don’t even like the Redwings.
Another theory is that people really do think that it’s over and it should be let go. But why let it go? If someone votes for some initiative, that action assumes some part of that individual STRONGLY believes that initiative to be the best possible thing. So why not talk about it and clarify it for people who really want to get all sides of a story?
My last theory is that there is a large, rural population, who has few interactions with folks who are not openly gay. This may be because many teenagers who are gay can’t wait to get out of Dodge, move to a big city where there are gay communities that accept them for who they are and never look back. They adopt an affinity for good cheeses and fantastic curtains while the people in rural Maine say, “what ever happened to that Jones kid?” The rumors will fly, but the only people that will see the Jones kid again, are the members of his family and really close friends from his childhood. He will never come back to that tiny town permanently to show the town that he is no different as a human being than they are, and the town loses out on a great education about different types of people.
Even the people that are totally OK with the idea of gay & lesbian people living together, they still may have voted against homosexual marriage in what I call “the icky factor”, or are OK with the idea of “separate but equal” – which worked so well in the 60’s.
And then, there is religion, but I feel that Andy covers that adequately enough, so I won’t tread on that topic.