Next I pulled a list of all their Twitter followers and looked at each one. I pulled a list of all accounts each follower followed. This gave me a view of which accounts are favoured most by those who oppose marriage equality.
Here's the first baker's dozen, presented in order of how many followers they share with the Coalition for Marriage:
In one of my more depressing discoveries I note that Stephen Fry (thirteenth) is favoured by those that would seek to deny him recognition of a loving commitment to a partner. It seems acceptable to consider him partially human - an amuser, an entertainer, but not someone who may wish to share his life fully with another, or want his relationship to potentially hold the same status as mine. Barack Obama, a supporter of marriage equality, comes fortieth. Derren Brown also features.
Writing about marriage equality makes me feel like the elderly woman who took it upon herself to retouch a 19th century fresco - I know my talents are not equal to the task and I realise I put something valuable at risk with my amateurish efforts. In preparation, I reread "My Bondage and my Freedom" by Frederick Douglass, a fascinating writer who escaped slavery to become a leader of the abolitionist movement.
“The marriage institution cannot exist among slaves, and one sixth of the population of democratic America is denied it's privileges by the law of the land. What is to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of it's humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?” - Frederick Douglass
The Coalition for Marriage's Twitter account counts among its followers many self-described Catholics. As an Irishman I'm aware of the discrimination they suffered in the 18th century and before. Among other injustices and in common with American slaves they were denied the right to education. The same people who removed the right to kindle learning then judged slaves and Catholics intellectually subnormal. Douglass writes with measured composure of the denial or marital rights to slaves and how those who felt it right to own their fellow humans judged their victims adulterous and without scruple, ignoring the fact that the denial of marital rights and societal recognition can damage a relationship.
I'll never know what it's like to love another man, but I do know what it's like to love and marry a woman. I know what it's like to stand with trembling fingers shaking a wedding speech and loudly declare my love and commitment in a packed room. To be congratulated and recognised for that commitment. To dance badly, to kiss to the sounds of applause, to spend a weekend gluing together invitations, to feel that exhilarating rush of starting something new with the person you love. And I would not see that denied to anyone.