Chapter 16: Love and Commitment

At first glance, it might not seem like Thalia Zepatos had a personal stake in the marriage equality movement. After all, she was straight, with no kids of her own.

But she had also experienced the pain of second-class treatment. It was during a particularly violent campaign for nondiscrimination protections, during which staffers’ offices were broken into, Thalia’s car was followed, and innocent queer bystanders were attacked and killed by skinheads.

After that experience, Thalia was determined to end such abusive treatment. She saw that progress had been slow and that public opinion wasn’t moving fast enough, and so she dedicated the next few years of her life to searching for a better way to show voters why the freedom to marry mattered.

And then, at last, she discovered a solution: a message that was so obvious it was right in front of everyone all along. Her research showed that it worked — but it had yet to be tested in an actual election.

By 2012, there was no time for further testing. Four states had marriage bans on the ballot, and Thalia had convinced campaign managers in all four states to adopt her new strategy. They were about to find out whether it would work.

Parisian Kevin MacLeod ( 
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