Gay Marriage Seeps in Sacramento DA’s Race
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The voter initiative banning gay marriage dominated California’s political landscape six years ago, and it still casts a shadow over the race for district attorney in Sacramento County.
One of the leading candidates for the job, Deputy District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, is openly gay - a distinction that generally wouldn’t matter in a state in which 7 percent of the Legislature is gay, including both the current and former speakers of the state Assembly.
But Schubert also is the younger sister of Proposition 8’s key proponent and political strategist, Frank Schubert, and opponents of California’s marriage ban, which finally fell to court challenges last year, have long memories.
Gay and lesbian groups say she failed to speak out against the initiative at the time. Because of that, they are working to defeat her, even though she has the support of the current district attorney and every major law enforcement association in the region.
Moreover, some contend that Anne Marie Schubert is one of the few people who could have made a difference in the outcome of the 2008 vote, had she held a news conference with her then-partner and their two children denouncing the initiative.
"Others want to make her into something she isn’t," said her political consultant, Dave Gilliard. "She’s not a political activist in that arena and never has been."
Proposition 8 passed with 52 percent of the vote, amending the California Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Schubert, a Republican facing two Democrats in the June 3 primary, now finds herself opposed by the same gay and lesbian groups that have been trying to promote candidates. If elected, she would become the highest-ranking openly gay official in Sacramento County’s history.
"The gay community has wanted an opportunity to punish Frank Schubert for a long time," said Kathleen Finnerty, a founding member of SacLEGAL, Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians.
Finnerty, who supports Schubert in the race, also is a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento. That organization and the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce have endorsed state Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell.