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.