Creator of NOM's anti-gay 'Bus Tour' shares revelation: I now support same-sex civil marriages

Posted by JD Uy
April 10, 2011 4:50 AM |

''As you may already know, I was the one behind the 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour which the National Organization for Marriage sponsored and operated throughout July and August last year. It was my doing when, in March that year, I approached Brian Brown, then Executive Director of the National Organization for Marriage about sponsoring and participating in a series of traditional marriage rallies scattered around the Nation....

''[It] was in Atlanta that I can remember that I questioned what I was doing for the first time. The NOM showing in the heart of the Bible-belt was dismal and the hundreds of counter-protesters who showed up were nothing short of inspiring. 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 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 largely taken aback by the fact that the [Facebook] 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....

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

Louis J. Marinelli writing on his personal blog about how he recently transitioned from being a key member of the anti-gay National Oraganization for Marriage into being a supporter of same-sex marriage. His long post details his involvement with NOM's 2010 Bus Tour, and also his development of online projects. (LouisJMarinelli.com)

He talks of a journey that evolved through dialogues held with gay marriage supporters --  in person and online -- leading him to his new-found support for gay marriage. One specific blogger, RJ, had a particular effect on his views last October. Marinelli also says in his post that there's a clear difference between religious marriage ceremonies and civil marriage ceremonies. He says that NOM's ideology is primarily driven by Catholic beliefs. 

Brian Brown, the head of the National Organization for Marriage, seemed to downplay Marinelli's significance and influence as a paid member of Brown's anti-gay organization (NOMBlog):

"Louis Marinelli worked in a volunteer capacity as a bus driver during our summer marriage tour. Around this time, NOM began to pay him as a part-time consultant for helping us expand our internet reach. He has since chosen a different focus. We wish him well."

If Louis Marinelli's latest statements are credible, it's an impressive turnaround, lending hope to many online blogs last weekend.

Marinelli still says he does not approve of homosexuality, but he does a further mea culpa regarding his political maneuvers through a series of statements e-mailed to the gay blog GoodAsYou:

'''Any support or endorsement of what Peter LaBarbera does I retract. I have been reading via Twitter and his website what this guy has to say, and it is clear that he is just a hateful man and I would be embarrassed and ashamed to be associated with him....

''I agree that what the gay community are fighting for are their civil rights. So in that way, it is indeed a civil rights movement but not the civil rights movement. That is to say, a new civil rights movement, not an extension or continuation of the civil rights movement of the 1960s....

''My transition from an opponent of same-sex marriage to a supporter does not mean I suddenly think homosexuality is a good thing. I personally disagree with it.... 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....

''Once I wrote that homosexuals are deceitful people who care only about themselves or something to that effect. Honestly, aren’t we all? It was wrong for me to exclude everyone else from that description. We all lie and when it comes down to it, we will do what is best for ourselves....''

NOM Tour Tracker had a video of Louis Marinelli participating on the 2010 bus tour:


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