Straight out the door

Sacrmento firm principal leaves amid anti-gay PR controversy

Copies of the National Organization for Marriage internal documents that mention Sacramento-based Schubert Flint Public Affairs and the Proposition 8 campaign are posted on Kel Munger’s SN&R blog, Kel’s Hot Flash at
Read previous coverage on the topic, “Is Sacramento’s Schubert Flint Public Affairs the ‘same-sex marriage’ firm?” SN&R Frontlines, January 26, at

Sacramento-based political-consulting outfit Schubert Flint Public Affairs, which helped design the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in California, never wanted to be known as the “same-sex marriage firm.” But reports released last week again underscored the company as the go-to guys for anti-gay public relations.

And now, this past Tuesday, firm principal Frank Schubert—the driving force behind the Schubert Flint’s efforts to repeal same-sex-marriage legislation nationwide—announced he would be leaving the company amid controversy.

“I don’t want my work on social issues to continue to overshadow the people who work for me,” he said in a statement. “I’ve chosen to try to make a difference fighting for families, faith and the principles of the American founding, endowed by God.”

Schubert’s resignation comes on the heels of new internal documents from the National Organization for Marriage, a big player in the fight against marriage equality; the documents make all sorts of references to Proposition 8 and Schubert Flint.

This in addition to discussions of a strategy aimed to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” by “fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop. 8.”

These new developments are piled on top of Schubert Flint’s involvement in Maine’s 2009 anti-gay-marriage initiative. NOM also consulted with Schubert Flint on plans to overturn Washington, D.C.’s, marriage-equality law as well.

Unsealed on March 26, the documents were part of an ongoing campaign-finance investigation by Maine into NOM, which was heavily involved in the state’s Question 1 initiative, along with Schubert Flint, and also has been fighting to keep its records secret.

Interesting items revealed include plans to recruit unhappy children of gay parents and also identify “non-intellectual elite” celebrities to support “traditional marriage.”

They also detail NOM’s plans for repealing marriage equality in Washington, D.C., including a statement that “Schubert Flint’s preliminary campaign budget suggests that Stand for Marriage D.C. will need to raise around $6 million for victory,” and further promises that NOM will raise one-third of that amount.

Schubert was traveling this week but responded to SN&R’s questions via email. He conceded that while NOM is not currently a client of Schubert Flint, the firm has “done some work with them over the years, mostly on statewide ballot measures and similar campaigns.”

He also told SN&R that his former company was “involved with NOM and others in early organizational efforts in 2009 to mount a referendum and/or an initiative to preserve traditional marriage” in Washington, D.C.

“Unfortunately, the District of Columbia government refused to allow such a vote,” Schubert explained, “and the courts did not overturn that decision. Thus, no campaign was mounted and none is under way.”

The Sacramento firm is also credited in the documents with planning a special campaign aimed at young Latinos. Its words: “[The] ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage … a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of ‘Anglo’ culture.”

Schubert acknowledged working with NOM and the Susan B. Anthony List on a campaign aimed at adult Latino voters as part of Carly Fiorina’s unsuccessful challenge to Sen. Barbara Boxer, but said that Schubert Flint did not target younger Latinos.

Much attention has been directed at the sections of the documents which address “fanning hostilities” between blacks and gays; SN&R asked Schubert what he would advise a client about such a campaign.

“We would not suggest to any client—NOM or otherwise—that they adopt a strategy of ‘fanning hostility,’” Schubert said, “and [we] would not be involved in implementing such a strategy.”

He did add, however, that taking advantage of so-called “wedge issues” is simply “common-sense politics.”