By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: October 9, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — In the roiling state-by-state war over same-sex marriage, the campaign against marriage rights has been masterminded largely by one man.
Frank Schubert, a former corporate public relations executive, ran the $40 million, come-from-behind push for Proposition 8 in California in 2008. He went on to mount successful campaigns to defeat same-sex marriage in Maine and North Carolina. Now, with marriage initiatives on the ballot in Maryland, Minnesota, Washington State and Maine, Mr. Schubert is the chief strategist in all four at once.
Gay rights leaders despise Mr. Schubert, who has devoted himself to the issue in recent years, for what they call his misleading arguments. They have also learned to fear him for messages that are less openly harsh than those voiced by many other opponents of gay rights: a strategy aimed at reassuring the moderate voters who decide such elections that barring gays and lesbians from marriage does not make them bigots.
Citing polls showing growing public acceptance and armed with more than $25 million, gay rights leaders hope to win their first ballot victory for same-sex marriage on Nov. 6. But they are bracing for a rush of Schubert-designed television ads in the four contested states.