Thalia Zepatos was the Director of Research and Messaging for Freedom to Marry. Zepatos was born in New York City and raised in Yonkers, New York. Zepatos earned her undergraduate degree from American University in Washington DC while at the same began working as an activist, particularly on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. Zepatos continued her political work once moving to Portland, Oregon. While in Oregon, she first became involved in LGBT rights work, especially by joining the campaign opposing Oregon’s Ballot Measure 9 in 1992. She then fought against Ballot Measure 36 in 2004, which, when passed, limited marriage to heterosexual couples. Zepatos moved to California work on the “Let California Ring” public education campaign in advance of the anti-gay Proposition 8, which passed in 2008. She joined Freedom to Marry in 2010 as Director of Research and Messaging. In this interview, Zepatos discusses her many years working on behalf of LGBT rights, in particular the freedom to marry movement. She details the extensive, multi-year effort to conduct research on what American’s thought about marriage in general and why they opposed extending marriage to same-sex couples. Furthermore, she explains how she and her colleagues were able to “crack the code” and develop a new set of messages that resonated with voters and changed their minds to be in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples.




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