Former NOM Organizer Now Supports Marriage Equality!

Jim Burroway

April 8th, 2011

This is huge! Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper has the scoop. Louis Marinelli, National Organization for Marriage’s former tour organizer, and NOM Facebook page founder and blogger, now supports civil marriage equality for LGBT people. Marinelli told Hooper in an email exchange that it was last summer’s marriage tour last summer which opened his eyes.

In the interview exchange, Marinelli repudiated much of what he had previously written, blogged and tweeted on behalf of NOM. He called his earlier statements using Paul Cameron’s discredited research “inappropriate and offensive,” retracted his endorsement of Peter LaBarbera (“he is just a hateful man and I would be embarrassed and ashamed to be associated with him”), and he regrets personal attacks against gay people (“This includes calling them an abomination”).

Marinelli’s position didn’t shift from completely anti-gay to 100% pro-gay:

“I personally do not agree with homosexuality and without any shame will continue to uphold my belief that homosexuality itself presents a public health concern due to the sexual diseases that are associated with it and that spread rapidly as a result of it. …

…Having said that, the health issues facing promiscuous homosexual men is irrelevant to the issue of same-sex marriage. I was guilty of and apologize for this insensitive and inappropriate rhetoric.

He’s not pro-gay, but his shift is, I think, enough:

…I personally disagree with it. The same way I disagree with many other things other people do with their lives. That doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to prevent homosexuals from being homosexuals or to take away their constitutionally protected civil rights as American citizens.

The most interesting thing about it, is that Marinelli’s change of heart came about during NOM’s disastrous 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour. When the tour stopped in Atlanta, where the overwhelming turnout of counter-protesters, when compared to the dismal showing of supporters, “was nothing short of inspiring.” He wrote, “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.”

He continued blogging on behalf of NOM through the fall, but things started to change for him. He began an exchange with a blogger by the name of RJ, who responded to one of Marinelli’s blog posts.

At that point, between what I had witnessed on the marriage tour and RJ’s post about marriage equality, I really came to understand that 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. No, they didn’t want to destroy American culture, they wanted to openly particulate in it. I was well on my way to becoming a supporter of civil marriage equality.

By December, Marinelli became a supporter of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and relinquished his moderating duties for NOM’s Facebook page.

Hooper’s email interview with Marinelli is fascinating, and is indicative of the slow but sure growing support for marriage equality that we have been seeing over the past decade.

What’s more, Marinelli now has issued a statement on his own blog: “I now support full marriage equality,” where he speaks of his former cohorts at NOM:

Having done that [delegating his Facebook duties], I had to pick up where they left off. I was largely taken aback by the fact that the page I created had become such a hateful place. My comments and rhetoric paled in comparison to what that place had turned into. I began to understand why the gay community was out there claiming opposition to same-sex civil marriage was all about hate.

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.

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

i encourage you to go over there and show him some love.

Ben in Oakland

April 8th, 2011

I read the interview with Jeremy. Two points.

Maybe i’m just not seeing it, but what seems to me missing is the real “why”. Marinelli wrote: “Even though I had been confronted by the counter-protesters throughout the marriage tour, 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.”

I’m fairly intuitive about what people say and don’t say and how the say or don’t say it, and there is no kick in the pants here.

The other place this resonates is that the first pro-marriage ad from basic rights Oregon came out. Guess what: another straight couple talking about gay people, with real gay people nowhere to be found. I had sent BRO some money for this, with the warning that they sohuld not repeat the same mistakes that every campaign since 1994 has made: no gay people talking about their lives.

Yet, here is marinelli saying it was that veyr contact the propelled a professional antigay into the other direction.

Is anyone listening?


April 8th, 2011

Let’s not go completely ga-ga just yet. In one of his recent posts, Marinelli endorses Donald Trump for president… Among all of Trump’s recent birther pandering, we should take note that he is emphatically NOT in support of ANY rights for GLBT Americans.

Priya Lynn

April 8th, 2011

My first thought when I saw this post was “Today isn’t April 1st, is it?”.

This is encouraging.

Lindoro Almaviva

April 8th, 2011

the health issues facing promiscuous homosexual men

are the same health issues that face promiscuous heterosexual men and women, so what?

I understand the news and i think this is cause for celebration but gimme a frigging break. When are these people goingto stop obessing with what i do with my hips?


April 8th, 2011

I think a lot of caution is in order – the blog and activist coverage of this is already too much. This guy sounded like a nut when he was driving the bus around for NOM – not just b/c of his focus on this issue – but b/c he seemed a little off. This also seems like just an incredible 180-degree turn on a pretty controversial issue in a very short period of time – which would be consistent with someone “a little off.” I wouldn’t be surprised if he swings back to pro-NOM at some point in the near future.

Ben in Oakland

April 8th, 2011

Matt- thank you for confirming my observation. Something is missing here.

I’m quite willing to be wrong, and sincerely hope I am. Maybe more often than merely “on occasion”, it is possible to reach a bigot’s heart through plain fact, logic and observation. but my adventures online the last four years do not lead me to consider that is all that likely. there’s a whole lot of stupid and a whole lot of ugly out there. Pervy Pete is a good example of the former, and Maggie (and AC, and quite a few othes) is a very good example of the latter, and I am not referring to her physical charms. (We do not stoop to that level). She seems far too intelligent and focussed to be merely stupid, but i’m fairly sure she recognizes a cash cow when she sees one.

And as the old saying goes, a cow has no more ethics than a cat.

So where does that leave Marinelli? My prediction: there will be a big, life changing type of revelation at some point, and it is not the revelation that he is prepared to make at the moment.

And no, it does not mean (but does not eliminate the possibility of) that he is yet another self-loathing closet case that has finally seen that self-hatred is not making his life better. nor does it eliminate the proposition that he might have a bit o’ the crazies.

It will be interesting to ifnd out.


April 8th, 2011

“Disagreeing” with homosexuality is like “disagreeing” with black skin or blue eyes. It makes no sense.

He still thinks it’s a choice.

enough already

April 8th, 2011

People with his background are often inept at best and really awful in their communication skills.
He’s apologized, said he supports our civil rights and obviously has recognized the fact that we are human.

I certainly can and do understand how a person can be taking tentative steps then suddenly spring over several hurdles all at once and see the truth. Happens in my classes every so often.

And that’s a big step forward. It took a real man to admit to his mistakes.

Now, the important question, to my mind: What does he know – especially about NOM’s financial backers – that can be put to use as a weapon to wield against our enemies? What was his original usefulness to these Christians who hate us? Are there others within their pig sty who may be open to accepting the truth? Are there others within their Stygian stalls who are amenable to being bought to sell them out?


April 8th, 2011

My favorite part of this story is that he really “gets it”. He’s the rare religious conservative who understands that tolerance does not mean acceptance. He doesn’t “agree” with homosexuality. That’s fine. I don’t agree with Christianity or conservatism. But we both (finally) acknowledge that the other has a right to exist and live equally in this country. That’s great. I don’t think I’ll be “showing him some love”–his value system is too different from mine–but I’m definitely happy about this turn of events.


April 9th, 2011

There are many post by others who make lots of sense, I heard the interview he had with Michaleangelo Signorile on Sirius OutQ gay radio ch 109 XM ch 98 @ 2:00 – 6:00 this guy only acknowledges that LGBT people exist and deserve the Civil Rights of the Constitution, I found it extreamly interesting he is currently living in Russia for what ever reason.. I’m not going to fight my way to the front of the line to embrace this 25yo.

Ben in Oakland

April 9th, 2011

It’s one thing to admit wrongdoing and apologize. but has he hasked for forgiveness? Has he made any effort towards restitution?

Richard Rush

April 9th, 2011

Well, I hope this development will help turn Maggie Gallagher into a mashed potato. I’ll bet Maggie won’t be dancing the NOMster Mash again this weekend.

The NOMbies had been having fun, and it was an eerie sight. They lived to bash, and it had caught on in a flash, and now hopefully they’re relegated to a graveyard smash.

enough already

April 9th, 2011

That would be an elephant graveyard. Or maybe, La Breya tarp pits redux for mastodons.

The good news is, NOM is foolishly lying now that he was just a volunteer bus driver who did some web design for the. Nothing to look at just move along.

He’s bound to have dirt on them. Let’s hope they provoke him. Ego, he’s not short of.

Mark F.

April 9th, 2011

@Soren456 He may just disagree with gay people having sex. Obviously, it’s silly to “disagree” with same sex attraction.


April 9th, 2011

@Mark F.:

He “disagrees” with homosexuality; he says it several times.

It’s the same thoughtless nonsense spoken by those who say they “don’t condone” homosexuaity, or “don’t support” homosexuality.

Yes, it’s silly. But that’s how those people speak and think: in nonsense. The basis for this is twofold: 1) that homosexuality is a choice (which they can’t “support”) and 2) that homosexuality is purely sexual behavior.


April 10th, 2011

Am I the only one that’s bothered by the way this guy is being described? HRC called him a “Top Strategist”.

Please. He started a FB page posting hate that gained a lot of followers, started trying to set up the tour idea and then merged it all with NOM after which point he seems to have done little more than blog (what this site describes as unhinged blog posts) and drive the bus.

By all accounts his NOM relationship extends about a year and after they shared admin of the FB group we don’t even know how hands-on he was with anything. His own page’s About Me says he has been teaching English in Russia since January 2010 (obvs with the exception of the tour).

Doesn’t sound like a likely “top strategist” to me.

Less hate is good, but I’m uncomfortable with someone who supports my rights but still thinks I have a mental disorder and pose a public health risk.

enough already

April 10th, 2011

Less hate is always good.

When it comes to those Christians who hate us, definitely.

Now, only time will show whether this young man actually has “the goods” on NOM &Co. Their rather absurd attempts to discount him – disown him, really, suggest to me that he probably had a deeper relationship to them then just driving a bus and pounding keys on a PC.

What is important, at least to me, is that he saw the hatred of the Christians he worked with and contrasted it with the real people he was supposed to be hating. And he couldn’t.

That is maturity, whatever else one may think about him.

In every war, there has come a time when it was just plain common sense to welcome those of the enemy who were willing to change sides.

On a practical level, he might prove to have useful information with which to attack NOM. Be a great pity to lose it out of misplaced revenge.
Within the limits of the law, attack and destroy everything Mrs. Srivastav stands for – yes, please. Very much, yes.

Kick him in the teeth for publicly apologizing for working for that level of despicability? No.
Wasteful – both in the kicking and the potential loss of information. Not to mention in how it discourages others who want to change from being hatred pure to decent human beings.

The financial backers of NOM have fought every single court order for a reason. If we could expose them, that would be a big step forward. This might be a start – but only if we don’t mistreat him. He might or might not know enough to bring them down. Another person without his strength of character well might.

Timothy Kincaid

April 11th, 2011

Enough Already,

you are wearing out my patience with your “Christians who hate us” mantra.

Yes, I know your past and how it has skewed your thinking and made you associate “Christian” with the people who hurt you. But it is not reflective of reality.

In the US and Europe, the majority (yep, and probably by a huge margin) don’t hate us. A sizable percentage of Christians fully endorse civil equality and about a third are somewhere in the process of fully including GLBT people into their church.

And while more than half of every-week church-going Christians do not support marriage equality (but do support overturning DADT), it isn’t because they “hate” us. Mostly they just hold old prejudices and fear that they are losing their way of life. And guess what… most of them are like Marinelli, approachable. Changeable.

And ya know something, you probably hate Christians WAY more than most Christians hate gays. (am I not correct about that?)

Yeah, there are some who hate us. A very small number.

But guess what… they aren’t all Christian. Some are of other faiths, and many are not particularly religious at all.

Seeing our opposition as “Christians who hate us” blinds us to seeing who they really are, why they are opposing us, and what we can do about it.

And its annoying as hell.

enough already

April 11th, 2011

Alright, Timothy, it’s your blog and if I want to play in it, I have to follow your rules.
Would you accept “those who oppose us” as a suitable term?

enough already

April 11th, 2011

Oh, drat, hit post when I meant preview.

I can not directly answer your question as to who hates whom without making statements you don’t want here.
There is a bracelet on my left arm, covering that scar:
Odia inextinguibili, dolebunt hoc is inscribed on it. Not quite perfect Latin, but inscribing it stopped the nightmares.

That sums up my perspective on the matter.

Our goals overlap to the extent we desire the full restoration of our human and civil rights. Again – it’s your blog, tell me what terms to use and I’ll play by your rules.

Timothy Kincaid

April 11th, 2011

EA, yeah “those who oppose us” is pretty good. And there’s no reason not to point out when they are Christians (as long as it doesn’t appear universal). I think you get where I’m coming from on this.

I don’t want to diminish the evil (and yes that is the right word) that was done to you or the motivations behind it. And I do appreciate your perspective and contribution.

enough already

April 11th, 2011

Timothy, I have vast respect for you. Without you and Rachel Maddow, I truly believe we would have seen a massacre in Uganda.

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