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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 15
Former NOM staffer retracts attacks against LGBT families
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Former NOM staffer retracts attacks against LGBT families

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On April 8, Louis J. Marinelli, online strategist and lead organizer for the anti-Gay National Organization for Marriage's 2010 'One Man, One Woman Summer for Marriage Bus Tour,' announced his support for 'civil marriage equality' for LGBT families.

In an interview with Jeremy Hooper for his blog, Good As You, Marinelli described the circumstances that led to his about-face on the issue of marriage equality, which he had dedicated the last five years of his life to opposing. Specifically, Marinelli credited his personal interactions with the thousands of pro-equality counter-demonstrators at each stop of NOM's 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour, and the hateful rhetoric espoused by marriage equality opponents on the Facebook page that Marinelli had created for NOM in the tour's aftermath.

'[On the 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,' said Marinelli. 'I was largely taken aback by the fact that the page I created had become such a hateful place. & 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.'

The 750,000-member Courage Campaign, which live-blogged NOM's Summer for Marriage Tour at www.nomtourtracker.com and regularly interacted with Marinelli on the road, welcomed the news of Marinelli's announcement.

'Louis Marinelli's stunning announcement today is a testament to the accelerating shift in public opinion on the issue of LGBT equality, and underscores the ignorance and hate that ultimately lies at the foundation of NOM's attacks on the LGBT community,' said Courage Campaign National Field Director and 2010 NOM Tour Tracker Arisha Hatch. 'Louis' change of heart is instructive of what the courts and a growing majority of Americans have come to realize about our LGBT brothers and sisters - that they are our friends, neighbors, and colleagues; they share the same hopes and dreams as every other American; and that they are entitled to the same rights as any other loving family.'

The Courage Campaign has also joined with the Human Rights Campaign to expose the shadowy finances and hateful rhetoric behind Marinelli's former employer, the National Organization for Marriage, at www.nomexposed.com.

Marinelli joins a growing list of high-profile conservatives, including former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former First Lady Laura Bush, who have come out in support of marriage equality.

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