THE CAMPAIGN follows the people behind California’s historic “No on 8” campaign to defend same-sex marriage through exclusive behind the scenes footage, interwoven with the national history of same-sex relationship recognition since the 1950s. The story focuses on an ensemble of five characters — Alison, Holli, Richard, Anne and Claudia — as they labor tirelessly to defeat Proposition 8, sacrificing time with the families they are fighting to protect. The film positions their efforts within the context of shifting legal and political landscapes, from Anita Bryant’s “Save our Children,” to the invention of the word “Domestic Partner” in San Francisco, to Pat Buchanan’s declaration of a “culture war,” and finally to the wave of marriage bans that swept 41 states across the nation. The shocking passage of Prop 8 in seemingly LGBT-friendly California changed the landscape forever, both for the US LGBT equality movement and for the individual activists who dropped what they were doing and threw themselves into the largest social issue campaign the us has ever seen. Featuring a beautiful score from the Kronos Quartet and Jacob Garchik, THE CAMPAIGN emerges as an unprecedented installment of LGBT social history and a signature documentary on one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our times.
Holli has a theater background and the desire to keep spirits high among the volunteers. As Election Day nears and poll numbers appear grim, she is exasperated at what she sees as apathy in the community. “They’re trying to write discrimination into the constitution! What could be more important?”
At 75, Richard is a retired postal worker who has lived in the Castro district of San Francisco for decades. He volunteers for the campaign, and his jovial exterior is transformed when he talks about Prop 8 and his partner of 40 years who died a few years back. “How is our relationship any different?”
Alison was among the first to get a marriage license in June 2008, and was married not long after in her parents’ backyard. she throws herself into campaign work, as a volunteer organizing interfaith groups for “No on 8” out of her church in Berkeley.
Anne’s background is public policy and politics, and she leaves her job to work on the campaign as a field director for “No on 8”. To her, the work is about building community, but it’s also personal. She plans to marry her partner on election night, to celebrate Prop 8’s defeat.
Claudia is a college freshman and enthusiastic about diving into political work. During weekends back home, Claudia sees hundreds of “Yes on 8” posters and hears about the “evils of homosexuality” in church. A visit to a black and Christian forum for “No on 8” reassures that “I’m not the only one.”