NOM Strategist Realizes Homogays Are “Real People,” Now Supports Marriage Equality

National Organization for Marriage (NOM)‘s strategist Louis J. Marinelli enjoyed yelling at the gays on his facebook and twitter. But then he realized he was wrong, and wrote about it on his blog:

Having spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease, I must admit that it is hard for me to put the following text into words let alone utter them with my own voice.

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

While I have come to terms with this reality internally, speaking about it, even with the closest members of my family, has proven to be something difficult for me to do.

In short, if there is an issue of disbelief surrounding my newfound support for civil marriage equality, it is disbelief from those who surround me. If there is an issue of shame, it is a result of acknowledging the number of people I have targeted, hurt and oppressed. And if there is an issue of embarrassment, its roots lie in the face-to-face encounters I have had and expect to have with those with whom I once toiled over this very contentious issue.

I understand that those whom I approach now are well within their right to disbelieve and question me and my motives. I accept that is the result of what I have done over the past few years and would therefore like to take this time to, as openly as I can, discuss the events that brought about my change of heart.

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Marinelli then explains his experience on the 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour, a NOM-sponsored situation that happened last July/August. They sponsored and participated in a bunch of traditional marriage rallies around the country with routes chosen by NOM and Marinelli specifically.

In Atlanta, he found himself facing hundreds of counter-protesters and found them “inspiring” compared to his group. At that moment, “the lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people for me almost instantly. For the first time I had empathy for them and remember asking myself what I was doing.”

The Atlanta rally was a Slam Dunk for the marriage equality folks, because there were about 300 of them…

…and about 30 of them:

Marinelli started keeping a blog that fall after the marriage tour, where he talked shit about gay people:

“Some of the articles were fair, even if you disagree with them, but many of them I would now categorize as propaganda filled with strong and unnecessary rhetoric. This is especially true of the YouTube videos I made.”

In the end of October 2010, Marinelli was actually touched when a blogger responded to one of his blog posts with “an article addressed personally to me regarding marriage equality. In short, his article had the miraculous effect of instantly putting things into perspective for me.”

It was becoming clear… “GAYS AND LESBIANS WERE JUST REAL PEOPLE WHO WANTED TO LIVE REAL LIVES AND BE TREATED EQUALLY AS OPPOSED TO, FOR EXAMPLE, WANTING TO DESTROY AMERICAN CULTURE!!!” [all caps my own]

 

(You can read his statement retracting the statements he made about gays and lesbians here.)

After shutting down his anti-gay blog, Marinelli went back to moderating the Protect Marriage Facebook group and started noticing that everyone else on his Facebook group was a total asshole:

I soon realized that there I was surrounded by hateful people; propping up a cause I created five years ago, a cause which I had begun to question. This would be timeline point number three. I wanted to extend an olive branch in some way and started to reinstate those who had been banned by previous administrators of my page. I welcomed them to participate on the page and did what I could do erase the worst comments and even ban those who posted them.

He started talking to actual homogays on another Facebook group and that was the last straw. He officially realized that gays & lesbians are real people!

My name is Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican and I now support full civil marriage equality. The constitution calls for nothing less.

You know how when you hear about someone coming out or you see it happen, like you know,  probably Ellen for a lot of people — it seems easier because you’ve just seen an example? That’s all we need. An example. Something to make us confirm “this happens. this is a thing that happens.” People get scared to do things other people aren’t doing. Even seeing a friend come out and have it go terribly serves the same purpose — it’s an example. It can be done. You will live to tell its tale.

So I hope that him doing this — I hope this shows anyone else in NOM who might be noticing the cracks in their case that it can be done. In seeing The Light, Louis Marinelli has confirmed its existence, which means it’s possible. Seeing the light. It exists, it can be seen. So maybe, just maybe, other NOMsters will too.

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2838 articles for us.

62 Comments

    • Haha, I had the exact same reaction. WHERE IS THE APRIL 1st TIME STAMP?? But yes, I agree, props to him. Despite the fact that he still has a negative view of the gays, I like that we’re changing a mind at a time on civil marriage. Like an apple a day, only gayer.

    • I know! Reading this, I kept saying to myself “He knows April Fools doesn’t last all month, right?”

      It must have been incredibly hard for him to not just come around to this mindset but to admit it in public after pretty much devoting his life to fighting against this. My worldview just got a teeny, tiny bit less bleak.

  1. I feel like one of the hardest things for a person to do is to admit that they are wrong, so mad props to him.

    Also, I’ve been working with pie charts a lot lately so I find that I appreciate the one above that much more…

  2. I thought the article title was probably sarcastic. I am shocked, but I am also filled with hope that people really can change sometimes. Actually, I – maybe strangely – kind of want to give this guy a hug.

  3. i feel like i’ve seen coverage of protests and demonstrations and cute signs and people holding hands outside the courthouse so many times, and written so many outraged articles, etc. and i always secretly fear that it’s pointless, and that best case, painting “WE DIDN’T VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE” on a piece of posterboard is just going to make us feel slightly less helpless. so it’s really inspiring and comforting to hear that these things actually did get through to someone, especially someone who was really not ready to have his mind changed. i honestly didn’t think this was possible, and am pleasantly surprised to find that we live in a world where it is.

  4. I went to a NOM rally counter-protest that had a 500 person turn out and I remember doing it because I wanted gay people who were walking down the street and saw me and others holding rainbow flags to feel good. I didn’t want those gay people to walk by the state capitol building where NOM protesters held hateful signs and feel bad about themselves. I feel like it’s just a bonus that Marinelli admitted he was wrong.

  5. SO MANY FEELINGS. Maybe I’m overreacting but this made me really, really, really happy. This gives me hope for the world and it makes it seem like we actually have a chance and like it isn’t all hopeless.

  6. At the risk of sounding way to cynical and jaded for my age, I’ll be looking to see that his actions match up with his words…too often I have seen people profess belief in true equality and then their actions prove otherwise…

      • Terracottatoes, totally fair question! and thanks for asking!….Some examples that immediately come to mind were during the whole Prop 8 thing in California. I went around to everyone I knew who was of voting age and polled them on how they felt about marriage equality for gays and told them they need to go out in vote, painfully aware that the voting record in my peer group is not the greatest.

        There were several people, in particular, who are straight but told me they were 100% for gay marriage rights, should have the exact same rights as heterosexuals and they would vote against prop 8. Later after voting was over, I was curious how people voted (given the way things turned out) and found in one case the person didn’t vote at all and in another case they said while they are 100% for equality they voted for prop 8 in the voting booth – when it came right down to punching the card and making it real – there were just too many feelings about what marriage means to them in our society. I admire the person for at least being honest (I told them so), but I also said she was “100% dead wrong”. She was a little offended by this but that is ok.

        I have many other examples from straight and gay people that I know where they preach total equality yet I see subtle and sometimes more overt examples of innate prejudice (btw it offends me just as much when its a gays showing prejudice towards straights).

        Like the time a girl (straight) told me she had absolutely no problem with gays or lesbians and even admired them, and then one day heard her make a disparaging comment about the clothes that a more “butch” kind of girl was wearing. This kind of stuff drives me crazy! But I feel, and its activist in me, that its all opportunities to teach. So I explained to her about how her remark was offensive and disrespectful of the person and honestly, she probably didn’t get it because, in the end, prejudice runs very deep in people and manifests itself, more often than not, at a subconscious level.

        Sorry for the long response!! You can probably tell I have a lot of passion around these things….and THANKS AGAIN FOR ASKING!!!

        • btw, having lived my entire life openly as a lesbian, at least from the age when I had any understanding of sexuality, I have been kind of always on the front lines – “Lindy the Lez” in grade school, high school and now college. Which is my way of saying, I guess, that I have seen the very best in people and the very worst. Since I am the kind of person that tends to wear their emotions close to the surface, it does affect me in some positive ways and in some negative ways as well, but frankly, wouldn’t have it any other way.

          Take care and have a wonderful Sunday!

          • Thanks! That’s really nice of you to say and you sound super sweet as well! Not sure how much you comment here but would love to hear what you think on things….

            Take care!

        • Lindsey, I totally know what you’re talking about.

          One girl I worked with for awhile said that she “loves gay people” and has a “gay best friend” (like it’s a badge or something, but whatevs) but she voted yes on Prop 8 anyway. You are not a friend to someone if you actively vote against their rights, no matter what you say. She was less than pleased when I said something like that to her.

          Second example is my brother. When I came out to him, he was pretty cool about it. He even apologized for using the word “gay” as an insult, something I had repeatedly called him out on. It was a very emotional conversation and I thought maybe he really had grown up a little. Two days later, he’s back to saying “that’s gay” pretty much every day. (He plays a lot of video games on xbox live, thus has plenty of opportunities to throw around insults). He’s still really supportive and awesome about everything else, but is it really too much to ask for him to stop that one behavior?

          • thanks. It does get frustrating, and sometimes I think you just gotta figure out who are the people most important to you that you want to put the energy against to change their behavior.

            You are obviously close to your brother, which is wonderful, and he will come fully around I’m sure. Not sure of his age, but I hear people in my age group (late teens – twenty somethings), use gay that way a lot, almost reflexively. They don’t even think about it. Its probably just a matter of keep reminding him, but it may take a while.

            The most important thing, though, is what you said “He’s still really supportive and awesome about everything else”..sounds to me like a guy with a heart of gold but is maybe just a little rough around the edges…he will totally come around…

            take care!

  7. I’m going to be a soft-hearted fool and take him at his word, because it makes me feel happy. :) But he needs to take more steps if he really wants me to trust him or anything.

  8. Is gay marriage harmless? Is it about rights? Is it our business at all to question the nature of what marriage is and who can be married?
    Modern western society has determined that sex between two consenting adults is acceptable, and sex without consent or sex involving a minor is not. Does that mean that two consenting adults having sex in public is accepted? No. So the idea that sex between two consenting adults is acceptable to society is false! Society only accepts sexual behavior between two consenting adults IF AND ONLY IF, that behavior is conducted in private. That is the basis for acceptance of homosexual behavior. Society has said, it will be allowed if conducted in private.
    Now, if sexual behavior is conducted in private but described in vivid detail in public, with a video recording for instance, it is also considered unacceptable. The reason for this is members of the public include minors and non-consenting adults and subjecting them to sexual behavior is unacceptable.
    If sexual behavior is conducted in private but described without detail to the public this is not acceptable for the same reason. This is proven and can be proven anytime, for example if one’s parents were to tell them that they just had sex in the kitchen, or if a high-school principal were to explain to his female teaching staff that he likes to have sex with a certain type of women and did so just before their meeting. Most would find these statements offensive and probably request they not be subjected to it again. However, there are two basic exceptions where this is not only acceptable, but unavoidable and appropriate. The first is when a woman has become pregnant. Society demands that the man involved, be responsible for the welfare of that child, therefore the conception of that child must be made public only in the details of who the father is. The next example is basically the same scenario but with foresight; knowing that a baby may possibly come in the future, a couple publicly states that they will be consenting participants in sexual behavior and subsequently, all babies the woman may have are to be practically and legally, assumed the offspring of the designated man. This is what marriage is, in its most essential form.
    Homosexual behavior, from time to time throughout history, has been viewed as fornication, objectionable behavior as well as forbidden. The modern western world has taken the view that homosexual behavior is now considered acceptable adult sexual behavior with a condition, the same one for heterosexual behavior, that it be conducted in private and the public is not subjected to it.
    The homosexual subculture has not complied with this condition. This subculture has encouraged those who engage in homosexual behavior to subject the public to their sexual behavior. First, by declaring that they will be engaging in homosexual behavior themselves (through the state, which is the public domain, by self identifying as homosexual on applications, contracts and though public media), and more recently, declaring that they are currently engaging in sexual behavior with a specific person (“gay marriage”). There is no reason for society to know these individuals are engaged in homosexual behavior as there is with a woman and a man. This information is not requested or welcomed by the public, and the disclosure is not for the well being of society or its members, but for the personal satisfaction of the individual engaged in homosexual behavior. There are no legitimate exceptions to keeping the nature and existence of this behavior to themselves.
    It is argued by the homosexual subculture that “gay marriage” is required to protect the rights of homosexual sex partners. This is false in two ways. One, if one were to become a homosexual there is not one right that is taken from them; if that person wished they could still have a marriage, just like everyone else, with a member of the opposite sex. A marriage is still a marriage even if one or both members engaged in homosexual behavior as long they are of opposite sex. So marriage is still an option even if one has engaged in homosexual behavior. However, if one chooses to commit to a homosexual relationship, then that individual has made a choice to abandon a married lifestyle for a homosexual lifestyle and the option for marriage was not taken from the individual, but rejected by the individual. This is the same for a celibate and single person who may argue that they too have been denied the right to marriage. So again, no right has been taken away. Then there is the second way the lost rights argument is false; all the rights or privileges the homosexual subculture claim to be denied are already available to them through the current legal system. They claim they cannot receive the property of their sex partner after they die but that’s what a “Will” is for. They claim to not be able visit sex partners in the hospital, but they can use a health care Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney covers most other “rights” they claim to be denied.
    It is also argued by the homosexual subculture that calling a committed homosexual relationship “marriage” doesn’t change the definition of marriage. It does; it changes the definition from a joining or “marriage” of the sexes, the two halves of the human species, as well as two individuals who intend to share their lives, families and engage in sexual behavior, to mean any long term sexual relationship. A homosexual relationship is lacking in representation of both halves of humanity, there is no coming together, joining or union of the sexes and therefore in that sense there is no “marriage”. Also, a man and woman can be “blood” or genetically related to the same child they conceive together, sharing the same biological composition. This is a relationship defined not by the will or intent of an individual, but by the very nature of sex itself. This is a relationship that exists whether it’s acknowledged or not and still exists even if a man and woman divorce. In this sense a man and woman are “married” permanently if they conceive a child. Conversely, homosexual behavior cannot conceive a child at all, so in this sense again there can be no “marriage”. Calling a homosexual relationship “marriage” despite these facts disregards and negates the full meaning of the word and is therefore inaccurate. The definition of marriage has also been culturally established for an unknown number of millennia and therefore cannot be changed even by legislative decree without eradicating the established culture of marriage. That is what the homosexual subculture, whether they know it or not, is attempting to do.
    Throughout human civilization, the culture of marriage between man and woman has been under attack or in conflict with many ideologies and behaviors such as prostitution and other sex crimes, polygyny, polygamy, group sex, “free love”, arranged marriage, chattel marriage, slavery, cult practices, bisexuality as well as homosexuality. Marriage becomes exclusive for those who commit to these types of behaviors, not by purpose, but by the choice of the individual who engages in behavior that is contrary to what marriage is. Marriage should not be redefined, compromised or destroyed to appease those who don’t believe in it.

    • I find your opinions and reasoning very interesting, this is obviously something you have put a lot of consideration into.

      Out of interest, what do you foresee the consequences to be if/when gay marriage is made legal (bearing in mind it has been legal in many other countries in the world for several years)?

    • Admittedly I didn’t read this whole comment because HELLO WALL OF TEXT (seriously, paragraph breaks are your friend), but the logic presented at the beginning seems to me to preclude heterosexual marriages as well.

    • Hello –

      “there are two basic exceptions where this is not only acceptable, but unavoidable and appropriate. The first is when a woman has become pregnant [or will become pregnant]”

      Do you purport that straight couples who are not able to conceive or are infertile be asked to not get married?

      I believe infertile women and men should be able to get married, because marriage is not about a public declaration of sex: it’s about a public declaration of love and life commitment.

      Furthermore, because marriage is defined by law, it is also about hospital visitation rights (being able to visit your life partner in the hospital if he/she is ill or injured), life insurance/inheritance (knowing your life partner would be able to support himself/herself if, say, you were a police officer and killed in the line of duty), and hundreds of other rights. These are rights given to two people who love each other and are committed to each other for life, not about any man or woman someone might decide to marry simply because he/she is of the opposite sex.

      • Agree with the infertility comment.

        Kijafha: And by this line of logic, abortions shouldn’t exist (which wouldn’t surprise me if this were your line of thinking to begine with), and any accidental pregnancies would automatically result in a forced marriage between the two unwilling parties.

        This is the 21st century where civil rights has progressed tremendously since your way of thinking. You seem to be stuck in the 1950’s.

    • Ohh come on!
      No one is offended nowadays by the fact people have sex: gays or strais. Marriage is not about sex, since you said yourself that it was okay to be married to someone and still have a gay affair (which I think is not okay, marriage is about commitment, except if you are poly, then it gets really complicated)

      Marriage is about love. It’s not about family, or else that would mean old people should marry. It’s not about that “blood” thing either because that would mean adoption would be wrong.

    • Kijafha, some quick thoughts, while your opinions are very different from mine, i always appreciate the diversity of opinion and discussion. This is a safe forum so your opinions are respected.

      Secondly, at the risk of bringing back bad memories of high english teachers, it helps to keep your arguments brief and break them out into discrete points. This will increase the chances that people will read it and that they get all you trying to say – you have right be heard and read!! btw I suffer from the same thing and had to learn to be brief – many would argue I am still not brief enough.

      Lastly, just reacting to one specific point you made: “This subculture has encouraged those who engage in homosexual behavior to subject the public to their sexual behavior.” This is not true, the subculture has just tried to put homosexuals on the same playing field as heterosexuals, although they will never really be there. Take a close look at the media that surrounds you and you will see thousands of overt and subtle heterosexual references. These references are not always healthy for children to be exposed to, especially girls. My point: overt sexual references run rampant in our society and most are hetero and provide unhealthy messages to girls irregardless of their sexual orientation.

    • I’m just going to go ahead & feed the troll here ;-)

      So this is WRONG and also very very silly:

      “The modern western world has taken the view that homosexual behavior is now considered acceptable adult sexual behavior with a condition, the same one for heterosexual behavior, that it be conducted in private and the public is not subjected to it.

      The homosexual subculture has not complied with this condition. This subculture has encouraged those who engage in homosexual behavior to subject the public to their sexual behavior. First, by declaring that they will be engaging in homosexual behavior themselves (through the state, which is the public domain, by self identifying as homosexual on applications, contracts and though public media), and more recently, declaring that they are currently engaging in sexual behavior with a specific person (“gay marriage”)”.

      I feel like you might just want to make all these wall-of-text arguments for religious marriage only because…

      1) You have a lot of stuff just plain wrong/clearly interpreted with your own bias in mind. That won’t work when discussing how a liberal democracy ought to treat citizens.

      2)No-one but you and the nutters like you actually care about things like the above-quoted stuff.

      3) Really, we don’t care. We DO care about hospital visitation rights, effects on wills of being married, general second-class status of ‘civil unions’, basic respect….etc.

      4) You might want to use this thing called ‘logic’ (also known as ‘reason’). For instance, the ‘modern western world’ is not an entity and has not (and cannot) set a ‘condition’ as quoted above upon which the rights of gay citizens depends. EVEN if an actual country did such a ridiculous thing it would be impossible to decide what constituted ‘compliance’. EVEN SO you are very much not the person who’d get to decide :-P

      5) You might want to remember that gay people are people with feelings. Do as you would be done by…

      If you make good progress with this, then maybe we can let you into this fun thing we call ‘public discourse’, i.e. discussion between sane, rational equals who treat each other as such :-)

      • I didn’t say anything at all about religious marriages (there’s more than one kind of those sweety). And, I find it humorous that you would suggest I use “logic” and then perform the logical fallacy known as the “Appeal to Emotion” by suggesting I’d forgotten “gay” people have feelings. LOL

    • I found your views on the origin and purpose of marriage to be interesting, but am wondering whether when talking about the origin of marriage you considered semiotic arguments. Foucault and Kristeva propose that all meaning is composed of signs, which are themselves made up of signifier and signified. Over time, although the signifier (the word or symbol) may not change, what is signified by the signifier often does. This changes not just over time but also across cultural divides (such as sex, race, class etc) and also within them. One well known example is the word “cute” which in the 1960s meant “small but ugly,” a meaning only vaguely associated with the originally. Similarly, husband, which in old English meant “head of wealthy household” now means any man who is married to a woman.

      When it comes to marriage, the signifier is the word marriage and symbols of name changes, weddings and rings, among others. What is signified is arguable. From your comment, I gather that you believe that it is a commitment between a man and a woman wherein the man agrees to raise as his any children the woman may have. If this is your view no one here can dispute that. What I would dispute is your argument that because marriage arose as a result of such a contract, that is all it means to everyone on this earth today.

      Modern semiotics reveals the flaws in suggesting that because a signifier originally signified A, that it will alway signify A; and that because one person believes that a signifier signifies A, that another persons belief that it signified B is any less valid.

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  10. I don’t want to be the party pooper, but this just felt off to me and I’ve spent all afternoon reading all over the internet and looking into this guy and it just doesn’t quite feel as good as it should to me for a couple of reasons.

    1) The pro-equality sites reporting on this are way overstating this guy’s importance to NOM. While he clearly did more than drive the bus, he was hardly a “Top NOM Official” as the HRC website describes him or a “major cog in the NOM wheel” as goodasyou.org says. He is a guy who started a Facebook page posting anti-gay links and articles that gained a lot of followers, started trying to use the group to organize a summer tour, and then merged the site/tour idea with NOM and went on to drive the bus/blog about the tour.

    He is not one of the NOM directors and his “strategy” role seems to consist of knowing how to make a Facebook group. His involvement with NOM goes back roughly a year (according to descriptions of the merger of his fb page with NOM as described by the HuffPo and goodasyou.org) and most of his online work has been done while he teaches English in Russia. That’s right, this “top strategist” has mostly been in Russia since January 2010 (according to his website).

    As recently as April 7 (according to a cached version via google) the FB page was listed as part of NOM and showed NOM director Brian Brown as the owner. Clearly Marinelli retained enough access to change that, but it isn’t even clear to what extent he was involved in maintaining the page over the last year.

    I don’t like the feeling that an organization I support (HRC) is using something as propaganda with no respect for fact, but it’s really misleading to state “With Marinelli’s departure from NOM, the anti-gay group lost 290,000 followers on Facebook.” That seems to imply 290,000 people following his lead rather than simply meaning that he has cut off NOM’s access to contacting the 290,000 Facebook followers.

    In HRC’s defense, he encourages this overstatement himself. If he “made a profession” out of opposing gays and lesbians (as he says in his statement), why is he teaching ESL in Russia? The Russians are doing a fine job of opposing gays and lesbians on their own.

    2) Marinelli recognizes our right to civil marriage, but in his email exchange with goodasyou.org he continues to oppose homosexuality, considers it a “public health risk” because all us promiscuous homos are spreading disease, and does not retract his previous statement that homosexuality is a mental illness but only indicates that that’s no reason to deny civil marriage rights.

    So while I’m pleased he’s making progress and no longer thinks we’re out to destroy American culture, he’s clearly got a ways to go before he understands equality beyond the narrow legal application of the word.

    3) For a while now he’s been linking articles on his new blog to the then-NOM sponsored One Man, One Woman FB group. He gave a plug for the blog in his post on his “transition”. He’s got a Facebook page all set up for himself as a “news figure”. I can’t help but feel like this is all just being used to promote his new brand. I find myself thinking, did he realize that the protesters in Atlanta were people or did he just note that they were outnumbered 10-1 and realize the future of the conservative moment isn’t gay marriage?

    I am truly happy for any pro-gay marriage rights voice, but at the same time I feel like it’s being used for personal gain as well and that dampens my enthusiasm a bit.

    I’m not encouraging anyone to exclude him from the pro-gay marriage train by any means. Even if he’s still got progress to make or his motives are not entirely altruistic, it’s still less hate in the world and that is a very, very good thing and I applaud him for reaching out to others and having the courage to change his mind. Hopefully the response he’s received will help him learn more and change his views further.

    I think my discomfort mostly lies with the way it’s been presented that seems to overstate his NOM position. The story could’ve been powerful enough without that. Knowing that he actually corresponded with bloggers and fb folks and considered there words shows that even those who shout the loudest may eventually manage to stop and listen. It is a heartening story in that regard and I should probably just focus on that.

    Okay, that was far too long but I had a lot of feelings and I ate too much Nutella earlier so there was a lot of sugar in my system demanding these feelings be shared.

    • I hear you on the whole… “this isn’t as big as it is being made out to be” bit, but still:

      “I find myself thinking, did he realize that the protesters in Atlanta were people or did he just note that they were outnumbered 10-1 and realize the future of the conservative moment isn’t gay marriage?”

      I feel like that’s an important realization. Really, if conservatives were to realize that gay marriage and other issues of equality are like, NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD in terms of affecting them, maybe a good chunk of American citizens could have their rights and conservative politicians could go back to bungling the (really fucking relevant) economic issues at hand.

      I’ve been talking a lot lately about how it seems that the very conservative agenda is so focused on social issues, most of which affect only a tiny portion (including me) of the population just to mobilize the conservative base. Now, unless everyone who votes conservatively is also a multi millionaire, that’s pretty much all the conservative politicians have going for them, because their take on economic issues and general how-to-run-a-country only benefits the extremely wealthy.

      It pisses me off to no end that people vote for and with politicians who are out to hurt them (let’s all kill health care, unions, and tax rich people less so we have fewer services for everyone else etc ) based on allegiance to issues that really don’t have anything to do with a majority of the voter base (gay marriage, women’s healthcare, etc). It’s a dirty trick, and while I don’t think this guy’s realization spells the end of NOM or anything, a public realization that campaigning for inequality is stupid/waste of time/immoral is a step up.

      I mean, I get as emotional about this shit as the next person (i.e. the next equality loving homosexual/ally) but what makes me insane is the absolute irrationality of any of these conservatives actually giving a shit about who I sleep with, marry, visit in the hospital, or raise kids with. Like really. It should matter to no one but me…… unless of course you want to count the people making money off my familial stability/outrageous wedding or the happy, healthy children I am totally capable of raising in the future. Whatever.

      • Short version of that long and probably incoherent rant: Yay Louis Marinelli for using reason to direct your political opinion. Yay internet for making a big deal out of it so maybe other reasonable people will notice and stop the convenient bigotry.

    • Thanks for this and its very similar to where I am at. I felt a little guilty sounding cynical and jaded in my earlier comment since clearly I was in a minority given all the positive responses. But, in the end, I judge people by their actions more than their prepared statements, and looking forward to seeing how he acts on these new found beliefs.

      Also, beautiful job researching this, and analyzing the particulars. I quickly read it but wanted to go back and spend more time on your comment because you really packed a lot of great information and analysis there.

    • His position does seem to be a little exaggerated in a totally unnecessary way. To me, the powerful part of this story isn’t the idea that a very important contributer/organizer for NOM now believes in marriage equality which will have some impact on the organization or it’s legitimacy.
      It’s that someone who was so vehemently against gay marriage that he felt the need to be an active member of NOM and tour and blog for them had a remarkable change of heart. That by seeing the opposition stand up for love and equality he realized he was WRONG. That’s powerful.

      He’s obvs not all of the sudden an ally so being wary of his motives is reasonable. I can’t figure out how supporting marriage equality but opposing homosexuality would be a strategic first step to gaining a following, though.

  11. I like irony. And I grew up in a religious right home. SO this makes me smile.

    Christian evangelicals (overwhelmingly conservative Republicans) love to talk about converting people by “showing the love of Christ” – differentiating yourself from others in a way that makes people curious and opens a dialogue. (Imho, they’ve got the differentiating part down, but not so much the love.)

    The process Louis Marinelli went through could be used as an inspirational story in an evangelism workshop… if they swapped characters. Guess it’s a two-way street, huh?

  12. So does this make him an ex-gay-hater? Maybe he should start leading conversion workshops for gay-haters so they can learn from his example and overcome their sinful urges to hate on queer people.

    ;)

  13. It’s one less gay “hater” in the world and that is what is most important to me. I don’t care if he was the president of NOM, or the circus juggler at NOM’s protests, or was just the JANITOR at NOM headquarters – at least he is one less gay hater which is ALWAYS a good thing in my opinion, period!

    As for KIJAFHA – the anti-gay marriage advocate above – while I find your post very well-written (despite your lack of understanding for paragraphs and a propensity for run-on sentences) I find your logic filled with fallacies of which I do not agree. Period.

    Gay marriage is a civil right. It has nothing to do with sex. And saying that our right to marriage was not taken away as long as we choose to marry someone of the opposite sex makes no sense. Yes, you are correct, we CAN marry someone of the opposite sex but we want the right to marry who we choose, NOT who the government tells us to. I do not love a man, I love a woman so should my right to marriage only be allowed to me if I fall in love with a man? You can not choose who you love anymore than you can choose to be gay. So, in fact, our right to marriage IS taken away because the government tells us we can only marry if we choose to love someone of the opposite sex which, for someone who is gay, is impossible.

    In addition – why can only heterosexuals have and love children. Just because my wife and I, literally, cannot conceive a child together does not mean we cannot have and love children. If this were true logic than there would be no adoptions, and no fertility help for couples who cannot conceive and no surrogates for those that cannot conceive and etc.

    Marriage is not for just sex or for procreation. Marriage is a public commitment of your deep and abiding romantic love for some one. Whether you are gay, straight, black, white, purple, green, etc. we ALL have a right to make that public commitment of love to that special person in our life. It says so in the American Constitution before the DOMA section! :)

  14. I have a lot of feeling about this.

    Mainly, and I’m gonna try and say this respectfully, I’m not too jazzed that a person has halfway woken up to my rights as a human being.

    I read through the goodasyou.org article and I really have to point out that Marinelli still believes, “logically” that gay people have a shorter lifespan than straight people (because of STDs/AIDS), that gay people pose a public health risk (because of STDs/AIDS), that gay civil rights are not the same and should not be considered as an extension of the Civil Rights movement (of the 60s), and in the end, that homosexuality is wrong.

    Now, Marinelli can and does make the distinction that his personal beliefs about homosexuality should not influence his political belief about the right to marry or other constitutional protections. And I.. accept that.

    But I do not applaud it.

    Marinelli is not a hero. I believe, based on his statements on goodasyou.org, that at best, he sees lil ole homo me as less than him. And frankly, that sucks. I am a whole person, a real person, and I deserve to be accepted as such.

    My heart is not warmed to be halfway accepted. To be clearly told I am “choosing” a “lifestyle” that is “wrong” but gosh darn it, the constitution protects my wrong choices just as much as his right ones.

    I get that this is a victory for us homogays, but it leaves the taste of ashes in my mouth.

  15. Ok, this is a tad off topic, but did anyone look at the big guy in the red shirt (in the picture of the two haters) and think his right arm (holding the sign) is really tiny?

    Like dinosaur arms for people with outdated dinosaur-era (if we believe the bible’s timeline) should-be-extinct-by-now ideologies? Is this a thing?

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