This just in: if politics makes strange bed fellows, same-sex marriage makes them all the stranger. Kitty Lambert, one half of the first same-sex couple married in New York State just after midnight Sunday, will be joining Louis Marinelli on the National Organization for Marriage Equality Tour this summer, Marinelli tells the Voice.
Why is this significant? Marinelli is straight, conservative, and was the tech guru for NOM, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage. As recently as last summer, he was driving the truck and the social media operations for NOM on their anti-gay marriage tour. But during that time, Marinelli tells us, “My heart was changed because I went out and saw people like Kitty, and couples like Kitty and Cheryle [Rudd]. I heard what they had to say, and I saw them as human beings.” When he converted to being a marriage equality supporter, Marinelli not only dumped NOM, but became one heck of a knowledgeable defector. He’s now founded NOME, and is launching the Summer for Marriage Equality Tour next month in San Diego.
How did these two unlikely allies, both from Buffalo, meet?
“I went to their wedding” in Niagara Falls, Marinelli says. “We were there with our ‘Marriage Equality’ shirts on, and she drove by in a golf cart. The next day, we were at a NOM protest in Buffalo. Someone connected to their family noticed us, and our shirts had our website, and [Kitty] contacted me through the website.”
And now she’s joining him on the tour. Marinelli had previously told us that it was important for him as a conservative to speak to other conservatives about how they can have a change of heart. But he also thinks,”It’s important for people to see this is about people’s lives. It’s not theoretical. It’s easy to focus on votes in congress, or ballot initiatives, or court cases. People have to be able to put a face to an issue. Now that Kitty Lambert has finally been able to get married, she’s the perfect person to go out and show why people should support this cause.”
We will be doing a Skype interview with Marinelli and Lambert later this week, talking to the one-time ideological foes about their joint efforts for equality. Got questions? Get at us.