In issues of political conflict, people are often painted in black and white. You're for gay marriage or a bigot. You're openly gay or in the closet.
A brother and sister in Sacramento tell a different story. Frank Schubert was the consultant behind recent campaigns to ban gay marriage in California and Maine. Anne Marie Schubert is a respected local prosecutor who neither promotes nor hides that she is gay.
Frank Schubert has been vilified for his work though he supports his sister's civil union and her decision to raise two small children with her partner.
Anne Marie Schubert has taken heat from people furious with her brother. The expectation is that she should campaign for gay marriage. No way. She aspires to be a judge, and judicial rules preclude her from supporting political causes. "My ethics are more important to me than something put on a piece of paper," she said. "I'm going to follow the rules. That's how I am."
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Anne Marie has previously been named the best prosecutor in Sacramento County. "She is outstanding," said Michael Sweet, a Sacramento Superior Court judge. "Her intellectual capacity, and written and oral communication skills are all outstanding."
At 53, Frank is the oldest of seven siblings. At 45, Anne Marie is sixth of seven. She was a kid when he went off to college. Fast forward to 2008:
He called to give her a heads-up that he would be running the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. "I told her I expected that we would be on opposite sides, but that I respected her point of view," he said. "I hoped it wouldn't become a barrier in our relationship, and it hasn't."
Frank says his fight isn't against gay people. He believes marriage is a sacred bond between men and women that must be protected.
"What my relationship with my sister has done is made me very careful in my words," he said. "I focus them on policy and not the humanity of the individuals involved. There are very sincere, loving gay people who feel the way they do about same-sex marriage."
It's clear that Anne Marie respects her brother's abilities, but she declined to discuss him or his work.
Anne Marie did not marry during that brief window in 2008 when gay marriage was legal in California. But I'd bet money that she privately disagrees with her brother on gay marriage.
In public, she has retained Gilliard Blanning – a consulting firm favored by Republicans – to help with a potential judicial run.
Like her brother, Anne Marie is a Republican, though her private life is at odds with the beliefs of many in the party.
Her life is a rebuttal against such intolerance. And without saying so, she's a rebuttal to her brother's views. She's successful, respected and committed to family.
With a wedding ring or without, how could that picture be anything but positive?