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"Question One": Maine's Gay-Marriage Battle 

Wednesday, Oct 24 2012

In both California's Proposition 8 and Maine's Question 1, no meant yes and yes meant no: Voting "Yes" meant you were against gay marriage, and "No" meant you supported it. This cognitive dissonance permeates Joe Fox and James Nubile's documentary Question One, which looks at the marriage battle waged by Maine voters. (Spoiler: On Nov. 3, 2009, Question 1 passed, keeping gay marriage illegal.) The intent of the "No on 1" team is straightforward: Please let us love who we love without being legally marginalized, 'kay? It's over on the "Yes on 1" team (run by the out-of-state PR firm that backed Prop. 8) that the cognitive dissonance really kicks in. They bend over backward to insist that they're not homophobic — they just believe their God wants marriage to be hetero, that homosexuality is a choice, gays shouldn't be allowed to "redefine marriage" 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. Curiously, the most sympathetic figure in Question One might be the co-chairman of the "Yes on 1" campaign. He knows 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 refuse. Some closets are ideological.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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