There’s an adage about intelligent people changing their minds, so maybe anti-gay activist Louis J. Marinelli is smarter than we thought. He formerly served as the National Organization For Marriage’s tour organizer and social media expert, and writes that he “spent the last five years putting all of [his] political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease.” But on his website over the weekend, Marinelli writes that “after several months of an internal conflict,” he can “for the first time simply admit…that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.” He acknowledges those he has “targeted, hurt and oppressed” and hopes to “discus the events that brought about [his] change of heart.”
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.
Also, I started regularly conversing with same-sex marriage supporters in another Facebook group. This further solidified my new perception of gays and lesbians as real people, not some faceless political opponent. That could be considered the next point on the timeline.
Lastly, I came to understand the difference between civil marriage and holy marriage as in the sacrament of the Catholic Church. Let me rephrase. I understood that but either willingly chose not to accept it or just didn’t see it.
He concludes with a statement: “My name is Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican and I now support full civil marriage equality. The constitution calls for nothing less.”
The Facebook group run by Marinelli, “Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman,” has since been taken down, though it can be viewed here. In Marinelli’s time as an anti-gay activist, the page garnered 291,359 “likes.” On his Twitter this morning, Marinelli commented on pulling the Facebook page, writing, “When I left NOM, I took the [Facebook] age I created and own with me. I could no longer allow a creation of my hands to be wielded against others.”
He now has a new Facebook page — 295 likes and counting — where he hopes to advance the marriage equality agenda.
[h/t Daily Intel]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 11, 2011