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Why I left NOM and changed my mind on marriage equality

NOM Exposed Right-wing

Please welcome our old friend Louis for a guest post here at Prop8TrialTracker/NOM Tour Tracker. -Adam

By Louis J. Marinelli

As many of you know, last summer I organized the 2010 “Summer for Marriage Tour” for the National Organization for Marriage. Over the course of thirty days, I traveled across the nation pushing an agenda that is at odds with our constitution and our American values.

As a conservative at heart, I deeply regret the work I did not only during the summer of 2010 but over the past five years as a whole to curtail the rights of gays and lesbians in this country. And I’m coming here to tell you about what led to my change in heart… and to ask for your help.

First, I am overwhelmed by the response I have received from the LGBT community and their straight allies. Over the past five years I have spent my time attacking, misrepresenting and offending these people and since my announcement they have been able to put all of that behind them and show me nothing but kindness and support. I am truly inspired by the messages I have received and continue to receive since I announced my support for civil marriage equality on April 8th.

There are many factors that led to my change of heart but without a doubt it is rooted in the fact that during the very summer tour that I organized, I was forced to see gays and lesbians upfront for who they really were. For the first time they became real people to me who had real lives and I understood the work I was doing was negatively affecting them in real ways.

That is exactly what needed to happen and I directly credit the work the Courage Campaign did in conjunction with all of you here at Prop8TrialTracker/NOMTourTracker for playing an instrumental role in my change of heart.

Arisha and Anthony approached me several times throughout the summer tour. I remember sitting on a bench in St. Louis, Missouri alone with Anthony for a few minutes. It was just the two of us talking off camera. It was then that I empathized with Anthony for the first time, although I did not tell him.

I understood for the first time that my work wasn’t affecting some faceless, nameless political targets but instead good people just like Anthony. Gays and lesbians just wanted to participate in all that is America.

This culminated in Atlanta which was our next stop on the tour. I questioned myself for the first time as I was standing before the hundreds of gays, lesbians and straight allies that came out that day to stand up for equality and civil rights and stand against injustice and ignorance.

I have firsthand experience knowing that anyone can change if they could just see how their anti-equality work is affecting real people. I would like to thank the people at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker/NOM Tour Tracker and the Courage Campaign for doing the legwork and putting in the time and effort to change my life for the better.

Now I want to return the favor by fighting for full marriage equality.

To show just how much I want to make up for what I did in the past, today Courage Campaign sent a guest e-mail from me to some of its members asking for $5 — one dollar for each of the five years I worked with NOM — so that they can make more change of heart “moments” happen with their work. I would be honored, and grateful, if you would chip in to help move more people like me. I am proof that the work you, and they, do with your support actually does change hearts and minds.

Living in Russia, I understand what it’s like to live in a country that doesn’t respect everyone’s civil rights and that doesn’t respect its own constitution. America is better than that.

Now, thanks to Arisha, Anthony and the thousands of gays and lesbians who participated in the summer tour as counter-protesters — including many of you — I support marriage equality for all in this country. Equality is what America is about, it is what our constitution calls for and it is what I vow to help to achieve moving forward.

I am truly grateful for this and therefore I am asking for your help in supporting their work to change more hearts, one by one if necessary, as they did with mine.

Thank you for all the work you’ve done, and I’m honored to do it with you now… together.

126 Comments

  • 1. JayeinMD  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Thanks, again, Louis for seeing us for what we are — American citizens just like everyone else who have the same dreams and hopes as you.

    I'm thinking Brian and Maggie are flipping the f*(&K out over this and it gives me so much hope that people like Louis, who spent years working against our community, may also turn a new leaf as he did.

  • 2. phillykarl  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I'm glad you were able to see the humanity within the LGBT community, Louis. Ya done good.

  • 3. Judy  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:54 am

    We're all learning new things every day, about ourselves, about others, about life. Sometimes learning new things takes courage. Thanks for opening your mind. May we all continue to do the same. Good job, Louis.

  • 4. Alan E  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:59 am

    =)

  • 5. Joel  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Welcome to the human race , Louis. My husband I cannot afford even a five dollar donation between us, right now, but I want you to know you that are a mensch, high praise among Jewish people of a certain generation.

    Your passion and knowledge will be greatly appreciated as our fight for equality escalates in these next months.

  • 6. Alan E  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:08 am

    check the box before submitting

  • 7. AnonyGrl  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Louis,

    I am astounded and amazed and moved by your change of heart. I am sorry for the 5 years you spent doing harm because you didn't know what you were doing, and I am delighted to see you stepping up to make amends.

    Thank you very much.

    If you have seen any of my "On the Bus" series around here, I hope you know that the one that I wrote in the "Breaking News.." thread about you on the 8th was intended as a compliment. Making that big a break can be very difficult, and kudos for you for doing so.

  • 8. StraightGrandmother  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I would like more information about why Louis is in Russia.

  • 9. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Agree! LOL…Louis might have fun reading some of those "On the Bus" novellas.

  • 10. Joel  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:30 am

    SG! I've been missing you! Welcome back!

    I, too, am interested in that Russia thing BTW. Could anyone elaborate?

  • 11. DazedWheels  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Thank you, Louis, and welcome!

  • 12. LCH  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Hi Louis,

    Thank you for your courage in changing your mind and for being public about it. Knowing what I know about you now, I am curious though, what was it about the anti-equality side that seem to make sense to you at the time.

    Best of Luck and Welcome.

    ♀♀=♂♂=♀♂=∑♡

  • 13. LCH  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:41 am

    OT: Hi StraightGrandmother. Welcome back. I've been wondering about you too.

    Knowing what I know about you now

  • 14. LCH  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Ugh cut and past went wonky. Ignore the last line.

  • 15. Christoph  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:55 am

    THANK YOU, Louis !!

  • 16. Joel  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:56 am

    That's a good question! It always helps to understand your opponents' mindset. Perhaps you could lend some very valuable insight into that, Louis, having been there. And then we can begin to address those issues positively.

  • 17. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I sincerely appreciate your change of heart Louis, but then immediately asking for money causes me to feel suspicious.

  • 18. AnonyGrl  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:07 am

    To give credit where credit is due, he is asking for money for the Courage Campaign, not for himself.

    Although I found the whole thing a bit clutzy too.

  • 19. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I appreciate that clarification : D tx Anonygrl…and thanks to Louis for attempts to make amends.

  • 20. Linda  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:13 am

    As did I. But I saw it coming.

    I'm pleased with Louis' change of heart. But to immediately put him in this sort of position, and with so much praise….it's a bit unsettling for me. Please excuse me if it takes me while to come around to this.

  • 21. Linda  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:13 am

    * a while* –sorry

  • 22. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:17 am

    I will be thrilled to donate in honor of Louis's courage and future, but I'm not donating in recognition of his past, as the fundraiser asks. And I look forward eagerly to reading more from him. Converts rock!

  • 23. AnonyGrl  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:19 am

    I haven't smooched Kate in a while.

    SMOOCH!

  • 24. adambink  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Like AnonyGrl writes, I want to be clear: the funding goes towards our work. There's a clear model here: it cost money to put Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Danny on the road last summer. The time Anthony spent with Louis made a difference, as he wrote above. The time Louis spent seeing the families who showed up to oppose NOM's message, a small portion of whom you all and we at Courage helped drive there, made a difference.

    The dollars that folks contribute today go towards continuing that model.

  • 25. Peterplumber  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:51 am

    I made a $5 donation for you.

    Well, actually, it was $25, but I figure I can tell this to 4 more people.

  • 26. Ronnie  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:57 am

    subscribing……… 😕 …Ronnie

  • 27. celdd  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Without going back and finding it, I believe he was majoring in Russian and decided the language immersion route would be more effective for him, and also he has a Russian girlfriend.

  • 28. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:07 am

    tx for more info.

  • 29. Brandy  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:22 am

    I'm so happy that you have been open to change. I'm also so proud of you, Louis, for having the courage to publicly admit your private change.

  • 30. RebeccaRGB  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Well, he's gotten $5 out of me. :3

    Hi Louis! :)

  • 31. CaliGirl  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Hi, Louis!! :)

  • 32. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Louis, shouldn't this appeal be made to people who aren't already donating to marriage equality causes, like the hundreds of thousands of your former readers on Facebook? Seems to me they're the ones you should be trying to persuade to donate.

  • 33. Richard W. Fitch  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Hey, Louie! Hope you can also forgive us for some of the snide, unkiind remarks that have been made in the past many months. Welcome to those fighting on the right side of history. Here's a plug for your new page on FB which fills in the blanks for others asking questions that will bring them up-to-date.
    https://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/LJMa
    https://www.louisjmarinelli.com%2F&h=8758f

  • 34. RebeccaRGB  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Good point! I'd love to see that!

  • 35. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:50 am

    touche!

  • 36. Linda  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Yes!

  • 37. Maggie4NoH8  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Uh-oh… Why oh why did that Russian connection thingie have to come out????

    How long until "Don" on the NOM blog puts two-and-two together, and figures out, that all along, Louis was a communist sleeper mole placed in the NOM camp after being recruited and trained by the nefarious GIA (Gay Intelligence Agency – its part of the Gay Agenda).

    Anonygrl – docudrama script please!

    Thanks again Louis! Your "coming out" took courage, and we all appreciate it!

  • 38. Carpool Cookie  |  April 12, 2011 at 4:27 am

    Dear Louis:

    I am very touched by your change of heart, and development. Others will benefit from this, and I believe you yourself will find life more interesting and fulfilling as you continue to explore the subtlties between seeing things as pure black and white. Life is a growing experience, and I am glad for you that you've experienced some growth, and are moving into a more complex and ultimately satisfying place where we can appreciate all of humanity.

    Best wishes!

  • 39. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Oh! I've missed your smooches!!!!!

  • 40. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I am truly deeply pleased to have you as a friend of equality Louis.
    I never understood your involvement and role with NOM…it just always seemed a bit off to me, and now I see why.
    Welcome to the right side of history buddy :-)

    Please have some cookies dnd MILK

    P.S. Yes I know I said I wouldn't be posting anymore….so call me a liar and let's move on :-)

  • 41. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:27 am

    I'm SO glad to see you, Mark! Welcome home.

  • 42. Louis  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:28 am

    Well, it's a good thing that this isn't about Brian or Maggie. That's why I was able to rationalize ending my relationship/friendship with them.

    The greater good here is securing the civil rights of millions of Americans and that is more important than any one friendship or person.

  • 43. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Just when I once again think I'll give up on the human species, you provided this miracle as living proof that people CAN change. "Thank you" just doesn't seem enough ….. but thank you anyway, Louis.

  • 44. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Oh, and "Hi Louis!" This time it's for REAL!!!!!!!!!! (Who'da thunk it???)

  • 45. fiona64  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Hi, Louis. So glad that you are here.

    Fiona64

  • 46. Richard Cortijo  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:40 am

    Thank you Louis!

  • 47. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I don't mean to be rude, I'm just pointing out that Louis is preaching to the choir. I realize he may be feeling out the response and what he's doing isn't easy–I acknowledge Louis' courage.

    That being said, converting the already-convinced might not be the best use of Louis' time, if he's really trying to make inroads undoing the damage of his anti-gay activism. Engaging the people who continue the damage (and to fund that damage) is really the heart of this battle, and it seems Louis has an unusual line-in that the rest of us don't have.

    Of course, it's likely they won't be very receptive and will shower Louis with the same kind of vitriol he also spouted in his anti-marriage-equality days. So it would be a lot harder and maybe discouraging, but that's Louis' stomping ground and he has a lot of established connection there. Just saying.

    Also, revealing NOM's funding sources to the IRS would probably be very helpful. Removing the economic feedbag for hatred and homophobia is critical and would be very helpful to the marriage equality cause.

  • 48. Louis  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I am in Russia because I studied Russian Translation at Kent State and I'm here improving my fluency so I can be a better translator down the road.

    Also, my girlfriend lives here so I'm here to be with her. I've been teaching English as a foreign language to support us for the past three years living here.

  • 49. Straight for Equalit  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:44 am

    OT: I don't know if this article has been mentioned here, but if this is a repeat, forgive me.

    There is an article in the Huffington Press that I found interesting. It is about how some anti-gay folks want to change the language to gain back anti-gay support.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/11/social-c

  • 50. AnonyGrl  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:44 am

    HUGS! (glad you couldn't stay away… :)

  • 51. Linda  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:59 am

    @Elizabeth–I agree.

  • 52. Jon  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:01 am

    That took guts, Louis.

  • 53. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Yay, Fiona!!!! I'm so glad YOU are here again.

  • 54. Kate  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:11 am

    OK Anonygrl, time for a new script — Louis meets Felyx and Kirille in Moscow!

  • 55. Straight for Equalit  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Me too.

  • 56. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:27 am

    It's amazing to have you here Louis. Please forgive some of the posts here regarding you…..we are all still adjusting to your change of heart and mind :-)

  • 57. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:29 am

    ((HUGS!!!)) Mark!

  • 58. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Thanks guys :-)
    I just couldn't stay away after some of the new developments here

  • 59. Sarah Hafer  |  April 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Louis, that amount of courage you have chosen to embrace and how you keep your ego self at the bay is a major stepping stone to having a wholesome and fully healthy lifestyle.

    Thank you very much for choosing the higher road to a healthier being and support us all unconditionally. This is how we can really move forward as one on Earth regardless of our sexual orientations.

    Bless your heart, Louis!

    Sarah

  • 60. adambink  |  April 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Ha. I love it.

  • 61. adambink  |  April 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

    You bet. As I wrote during our P8TT fundraiser, I believe in explaining to people what we do with their contributions. Always feel free to ask.

  • 62. adambink  |  April 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I don't disagree at all. There are other communities in which to make inroads. But the missions aren't in conflict. I asked Louis to write, even if he wasn't asking for contributions, because you all played such a big role in helping change where he is and you deserve to hear why he moved.

    Just wanted to say. The funding will go to moving people who aren't P8TT readers through a lot of different actions.

  • 63. Sagesse  |  April 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Late to the party.

  • 64. Rich  |  April 12, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Louis, on behalf of gay kids across the country (yes, there are millions) I want to thank you for your courageous change of heart. I shared your story in our High School's Gay-Straight Alliance meeting today. I wanted the kids to understand that people's hearts and minds can be changed when they stop, think and truly consider that gay kids are human, have feelings, want the same opportunities that straight kids have and need to know that all adults will support and protect them. Lots of smiles today in GSA. Thank you so much!!

  • 65. Alan E.  |  April 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

    =)

    (p.s. it won't let me do a smiley face twice in one comment feed)

  • 66. Chris in Lathrop  |  April 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Hi, Louis! And welcome to the team! I'm thrilled at your courage to overcome all the propaganda you have put forth over the last several years, and that you now support equality. I hope you will follow the suggestions above and appeal to your own readership for more support of equality.

  • 67. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 12, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I have no doubt, but I agree with the others who noted that this appeal is a little awkward.

  • 68. StraightGrandmother  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I guess I am the last to know, but it never occured to me that you didn't live in the United States. So you were doing your, how to say it nicely, "anti civil rights work", while you were living in Russia? Did you just come back for the summer to drive the NOM bus, and when the tour was over go back to Russia? Is that how it was?

    Next question, well I will see if you will indulge a grandmother for a few more minutes. You have written that on the NOM Summer Tour, that as you saw the real live people your former views were hurting you started to question your views.

    Here is my question, did the actions of the gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgender citizens together with their straight allies (what is the plural of ally?) being right there in your face loudly protesting, affect you? Or were you more affected by quiet, peaceful counter protests, and counter protestes that were held off site? And how much time if any, did you spend during the NOM Summer Tour and right afterwards, looking on pro civil marriage equality websites like Prop 8 Trial Tracker and others?

    I guess I am trying to get a sense of what made you change your mind specifically, was it large groups of loud counter protesting, was it reading about your NOM Tour on Pro Equality Websites, could you be more specific, maybe a few concrete examples, a protest sign you remember, something Arisha asked you or Anthony, I could be wrong but I imagine it was probably a lot of little things that made you question your beliefs, if you could talk a bit more about those seperate little things I would be very appreciative.

  • 69. Deb  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I don't trust this or him.

  • 70. rick jacobs  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Louis:

    I enjoyed meeting you on the tour. Thanks for your bravery and commitment to the truth. Standing up for yourself can be tougher than one thinks. Admitting that your thinking has evolved is even tougher, but even the President says he is on a journey regarding marriage. It's fascinating that you are ahead of him on this.

    Thanks for you, Louis.

    Rick.

  • 71. rick jacobs  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Deb:

    Imagine that he means it. Others make changes; I think Louis is sincere. That's what needs to happen with all Americans.

    Rick.

  • 72. Deb  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Rick,

    I read some stuff about him, about things he said and people he treated badly and it just seems odd. How does someone make a complete change like that? You know, I'm normally a very trusting person but something about this is not sitting right with me. Sorry, don't mean to be a downer. It's a gut thing.

    Deb

  • 73. Lizeth Alejandra Con  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    When Prop 8 was put to vote, all I saw were yellow signs (YES on 8) everywhere, people protesting on the corners of busy intersections, all I heard were shouts of "Yes on 8!" I would open up our Antelope Valley Press (newspaper) and there would be endless talk about "traditional marriage". I remember holding my fiancées hand, and feeling so alone, it felt like it was just her and me against the world.
    People don't understand (or don't care) how hurtful and painful that can be. So thank you Louis for giving me hope that maybe people will change and realize that we are people, and we do have the right to equality. Thank you.

  • 74. Paul  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Welcome to the freedom and the light. Enjoy it.

  • 75. nightshayde  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Excellent point, Elizabeth.

    I'm very happy to see that Louis has changed his stance — but I think asking us to donate more money to acknowledge the five years he spent demonizing GLBT people & their straight allies is nervy. I'd be far more inclined to donate more to the cost if Louis would agree to match funds (or at least a portion of funds) that come in. Putting his money where his mouth is would show quite a commitment, and would serve as some measure of penance for all the harm he has done.

    Louis — if you ARE reading this, thank you for making the big step forward that you've made. Thank you for publicly rejecting (some of) the hateful things you've said in the past few years. What you're doing takes a lot of courage, and I really appreciate that effort.

    Now that you've come to realize that sexual orientation shouldn't have a bearing on what rights people have in this country, I implore you to educate yourself further about GLBT people. You still seem to be under the impression that being GLBT is all about the sex. You completely ignore the fact that for many people, being gay is more about relationships & the people with whom you engage in relationships than it is specifically about the sex.

    I read this quote: "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.

    I think a lot of work needs to be done for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, to change the culture of promiscuity in our country and we would be doing ourselves a favor to focus our energies on that instead of singling out and lying the blame on one of the many guilty parties. 

However, until the day comes that homosexual sex does not continue to spread HIV at alarming rates as it does today, I must stand by my comments that, from a public health stance, homosexuality is a harmful to society." and just had to shake my head.

    "Being homosexual" does not spread diseases and is not, by itself, harmful to society. Engaging in risky sexual practices with an infected partner (or infected partners) is what spreads diseases. The viruses themselves don't care about the gender/orientation of the people they infect. Straight people engage in the same sexual behaviors that gay people do — the same sexual behaviors that have resulted in the rampant spread of HiV among straight people in other parts of the world. Engaging in the same "risky" sexual practices while in a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner isn't actually risky (as long as the relationship truly is monogamous). For that matter, engaging in risky sexual practices with a number of partners isn't risky in and of itself as long as all the people involved aren't carrying any sexually-transmitted infections/diseases. I also should point out that lesbians have among the lowest sexually-transmitted disease rates of any population — more indication that behaviors are far more relevant to the issue of disease transmission than is orientation.

    This quote: "When it comes to the issue of my statements about homosexuality being a mental disorder, I have one thing to say. And that is that I apologize for the insensitivity and accept the fact that this has nothing to do with civil marriage. So what if it’s a mental disorder? It wouldn’t and shouldn’t disqualify gay men and women from civil marriage." also gives me pause. It's lovely that you agree (now) that sexual orientation shouldn't disqualify people from being allowed to engage in civil marriage — but it also implies that you still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder. It is NOT a mental disorder. No reputable mental health organization has recognized it as a mental disorder for decades now. The fact that two things are different does not automatically mean that one thing is superior and one inferior. The fact that a minority shares a characteristic doesn't make that characteristic "abnormal." For millions of people around the world, being attracted to same-gender partners is "normal."

    If you get a chance, I highly recommend taking a Human Sexuality course at a community college somewhere in a pro-equality state (or at least not in a strongly anti-equality state). It might give you some added perspective on issues relevant to all of us — not just GLBT folks. Open your mind to the idea that "normal" is a very relative term, and that it can mean very different things to very different people.

  • 76. Ray in MA  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Among a potential pool of forgivers will always be some who open their arms wide, some who feel that "once bitten, twice shy", and some who need time to heal the wounds.

    In any case, Louis, you are giving all of us more hope that people will speak up against the injustice inflicted upon us.

    Thanx.

  • 77. Hannah Bradford  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I find it a real inspiration that someone like you is able to move from a firm position and see a new way of thinking. If only our representatives in Washington could be that flexible, everyone could work together for needed change.

  • 78. JonT  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Hi Louis! :)

  • 79. JonT  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Heh, that was funny. I suspect it won't work – it's nothing more than the standard talking points/terms organisation like NOM already use.

    Does anyone have a pool going as to when Ryan Sorba will be coming out of the closet? :)

  • 80. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks nightshayde. I am also bothered by these sentiments.

  • 81. Bob  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    It is wonderful that Louis made a change in his heart and mind, he was used once by NOM,, and came to the light, methinks he's being used again by CC, and so quickly he jumps up to the task

    Louis asking for our help now, to give our money,,, I think rather we could be asking Louis to help us, if Louis really has made a change of heart and mind, I would look for a change of his actions,,,, rather than allowing hmself to be used to raise money,,, deep in his heart he would figure a way to really help us,,, change the heart and mind of NOM,,,

    more important than raising a few thousand dollars for CC, and thinking he's paid his dues,,, Louis would do some more soul searching, and hard work, at reaching out to the people who he worked at creating the illusion for,,,

    rather than asking for money Louis could you take some action to change other hearts and minds???? doing this for CC doesn't negate what you've done or where you've been,

    with the first hand experience , knowing that anyone can change,,, would it be worthwhile to work on B.B. and Maggie as the next anyone,,, or would our efforts be better directed elsewhere???

    I hope you don't just disappear , but stick around and personally help us

  • 82. Linda  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Yes, Yes, Yes Nightshayde!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to formulate a thoughtful response to all of this. You expressed my sentiments exactly, and with far more respect than I could manage.

    Thanks again!
    Linda Liles

  • 83. Logan  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    As an ally, I am disgusted by the damage you have done, PERSONALLY to this community. It's great that you have seen the light, but there is no absolution for you. The terror you have brought unto thousands of people, families, youth. You are a disgusting person, and I hope that everyday you are mired in the guilt of what you have done. You are despicable. You actions have contributed to the deaths of every gay teen who has killed themselves b/c they feel that they are not deserving of full personhood. Your actions are responsible for every attack against gay people. While you are not SOLELY to blame, you are responsible, and you are an abhorrent person, a domestic terrorist. I hope you will spend the rest of your days making amends.

  • 84. Lodi Gal  |  April 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Hey, Louis! As others have repeatedly noted, your very public change of heart took courage. Likewise, I am humbled by the unconditional acceptance and forgiveness so many here are able to extend after suffering years of your personal assaults. It will take me some time to digest and trust the new you. I wish you well.

  • 85. Dude  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I'd also like to hear a clarification on this, in his words.

  • 86. Dude  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    If that were the sort of attitude he saw from everyone opposing his opinion from the start, he never would have had a change of heart in the first place.

  • 87. Late afternoon equality r&hellip  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    […] you missed it, today Louis Marinelli, formerly of NOM, asked Courage Campaign members to chip in to change more hearts and minds like his. He attributed two big reasons for his […]

  • 88. Brady  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Louis, your post is inspiring. I'm a high school student, and the Vice President of my school's Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). I'm sure everyone in the group will be thrilled to hear your story at the next meeting. We deal with a fair bit of harassment and bullying at our school, with things like "that's so gay" and people being called "faggots" ect. The students who do the homophobic bullying will usually never change their ways, so our only way of dealing with them is to wait until they graduate and hope the incoming class is more enlightened. I'm sure everyone will be delighted to hear that someone such as yourself (the bus tour became an ongoing joke in our group, so they'll know who you are) has not only realized their error, but acted upon that realization and changed their ways. Thanks for giving some more hope and inspiration to a group of students whose only current option of dealing with bullying is to wait until graduation and then go somewhere more accepting.
    I also want to say thanks to P8TT. I'm the "news guy" in my school's GSA, and I use this site to keep up to date on all the happenings concerning the LGBT community. The details you provide about legal battles and legislation really helps me convey to the group what's going on and what we can do to help.

  • 89. Alan E.  |  April 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    /wave @Brady

    Keep up trying to curb the slurs and bullying. Try to pressure more action from your teachers and administration. Are you all doing something for the Day of Silence this Friday?

    You can always turn to us if you need any clarification on the legal stuff. I'm sure one of us can figure it out for you.

  • 90. BK  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    haha cute :)

  • 91. BK  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Is that how we should welcome anyone into our community? I certainly agree that Louis has work to do. But to insult him, beat him down?

    "You are a disgusting person"
    "You are despicable"
    "You are an abhorrent person"

    That, my friend, is not what we stand for, nor should it be.

  • 92. LCH  |  April 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Ya know there is a possibility that trolls are from Louis' former site are posting here to harass him. Especially if we've never seen them here before.

  • 93. hary  |  April 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    my first time visiting this site, very useful info and I like this.

  • 94. Dave in ME  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Governor George Wallace also made a similar change of heart. These things CAN happen, although it is always wide to approach such situations with caution.

    Dave in Maine

  • 95. Dave in ME  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I just got back from the gay rodeo in Florida and saw this headline in my P8TT box and had to check the date as I KNEW it had to be an old April Fool's post!

    I'm very glad that it is not an April Fools! (We had a 10-inch snow storm here in Maine on that day-that joke was enough!).

    Welcome, Louis! I know that our message of equality will get through to the other non-believers just as it has to you.

    Thank you for seeing the light.

    Dave- one half of a regular American couple in Maine

  • 96. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Great use of Louis's story : )

  • 97. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Logan (if not a troll) have you lost someone close to suicide? Perhaps another tragedy to cause you to lash out at Louis and assign judgement of him?

  • 98. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 12, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    welcome : )

  • 99. Kate  |  April 13, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Funny …… my first thought after Louis announced was of George Wallace, too. We're dating ourselves, Dave.

  • 100. fiona64  |  April 13, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Other people have told their stories here of how their minds were changed toward equality. Why isn't Louis allowed to change his mind as well?

    I'm grateful that Louis was self-reflective enough to reconsider his actions, to publicly apologize, and to start making restitution (if you haven't been over at his blog to watch him expose the inner workings of NOM, you should be).

    Louis (Hi, Louis!), I am happy to say once again how grateful I am to you. I'm a straight ally as well.

    Love (just so you know, it's all about love around here … and cookies, of course),
    Fiona

  • 101. LCH  |  April 13, 2011 at 2:34 am

    I've just checked out he latest post. It is indeed very informative. I would put such a post in the restitution box. Knowledge is as good as gold.

    ♀♀=♂♂=♀♂=∑♡

  • 102. Stacey  |  April 13, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Louis, please know that Logan doesn't speak for the rest of us here. I don't, either, I can only speak for myself that I appreciate the strength it took you to admit to yourself and the rest of the world that you were wrong. It will give others the courage to do the same, even if not in so public a way, so thank you, thank you for being an inspiration for human decency, acceptance and rational thinking.

  • 103. Stacey  |  April 13, 2011 at 4:39 am

    And me! Every dollar helps.

  • 104. StraightGrandmother  |  April 13, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Lizeth, that was a very touching coment, thank you for sharing.

  • 105. colin  |  April 13, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I'd like to say I'm amazed, but then, haven't we been convincing ourselves that we have the sensible position in this matter? It only requires that a person be able to identify in some way with the ones pleading for rights in order for this kind of transition to occur.
    I think there must be so many more people in Louis' situation that just haven't had the opportunity to "see" the other side. Here's to more Louis' of the world; a continuing trend.
    This was a great surprise. Well done, Louis.

  • 106. Brady  |  April 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Thanks, Alan. I might have made things sound worse than they are. We have had success in making "that's so gay" far less common than it was a few years ago, but there are still some hardcore homophobes (luckily, many of them are seniors) who make things difficult for people.

    Our school is holding some Earth Day assembly this Friday (even though the real Earth Day is next week, I think), and we figured that it would distract from the DOS, so we're holding it on Friday the 22nd. It's a pretty big event at our school, or at least withing the equality-supportive sect of students. Far more people participate in the DOS than there are in the GSA, which is a good sign.

    Thanks again!

  • 107. gaydadtobe  |  April 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Haha Earth Day is next Friday.

  • 108. Richard W. Fitch  |  April 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    For all those that are questioning the ability of a person to make dramatic change in their core beliefs, let me just offer two names for your consideration:
    1) Saul of Tarsus
    2) Augustine of Hippo

  • 109. Sapphocrat  |  April 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    What nightshayde said. All of it.

  • 110. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  April 14, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Louis, a double thank you from me. I share other people's joy at your change of heart, but you also did a major part in getting me back commenting in the blogosphere. I'll gladly discuss my own reasons for supporting gay marriage — I am a 65-year old predominantly hetero bisexual who is celebrating his 20-year marriage anniversary next month, obviously to a woman but my own support comes mostly from a wish that other couples could have what my (lesbian) parents could not, the joy of celebrating their relationship legally.

    But you did something else. I'd had a number of personal things happen, one after another, a health scare that proved minor, but took six doctor visits and ten tests to rule out a much more likely serious problem – followed, literally on the day after I got my good news by my computer breaking down and losing everything I had on my HD, followed by discovering my modem was messed up so I was losing the net for hours at a time. I was getting pretty damn discouraged about everything and so shell-shocked I didn't trust my own reactions enough, so I'd shit up here and everywhere.

    Your change has revived my belief that all of the writing we do here on the net actuallly does something more than 'preach to the choir' or flatter our own egos. We can make a difference, and I needed that reminder.

    Thanks, sincerely.

  • 111. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  April 14, 2011 at 1:10 am

    if we could re-edit, my apology for mistyping 'shut up.' it was acidental.

  • 112. Prup (aka Jim Benton  |  April 14, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Don't welcome him. He's a 'comment spammer' hoping you'll click on his name. Standard boiler-plate language, guys.

  • 113. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 14, 2011 at 2:46 am

    tx for fyi

  • 114. Kathlene  |  April 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I'm not Louis (obviously) but I think I read that in the months leading up to his change of heart he had been conversing with lgbt people on facebook.

  • 115. Kathlene  |  April 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Hate to say it but him doing that would probably have the opposite effect of them falling all over themselves donating to NOM, so I'd rather he… not.

  • 116. Kathlene  |  April 14, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Anti-Equality Testimony May Have Backfired in Maryland. Sometimes lightning strikes twice.

  • 117. Kathlene  |  April 14, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Amen.

  • 118. Brady  |  April 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    That's the public school system for you!

    (off topic: typing this comment is taking forever because I'm trying to switch my keyboard layout from QWERTY to Dvorak. Re-learning how to type FTW!)

  • 119. Bob  |  April 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    on MSNBC he credits the persistent polite encounters with Courage Campaign staffers,,,,,,

    and on fox news no mention of Courage Campaign,, sad cause it would be nice to hear their name on fox,,, but he makes more note of being influenced by the blogger R.J.

  • 120. MSNBC’s O’Donnell Giv&hellip  |  April 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    […] On his Wednesday night MSNBC show The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell outlined how persistent polite encounters between Courage Campaign staffers and the National Organization for Marriage’s Louis Marinelli during last summer’s NOM Bus Tour changed Marinelli’s mind about marriage equality. He wrote a letter about it, posted on Courage’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker. […]

  • 121. Jacques  |  April 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Wow. Just "Wow".

    My great grandfather was stood against a wall and shot. He had come to America, made enough money to send his sons and a few daughters to America, but he believed in his country, and then the Revolution happened.

    You want to stand Louis up against the wall? You want him shunned not only by his former compatriots but by his new comrades-in-arms? You want to turn what could be an ally into an enemy again? What is your f*&^&$% problem?

    Here's a guy who has come from the enemy camp to meet us more than halfway between our respective positions. He still thinks gay sex is "icky"; well fine. Some things I've done with boys are definitely "icky", also some things I've done with girls, but that's another story.

    He's an ally to us now, he's burned his ships at the shore, and he's burning his bridges behind him as he crosses them. We want him to keep crossing more bridges!

    Hating someone who used to be your enemy is stupid in the extreme.

  • 122. Will President Obama catc&hellip  |  April 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

    […] an interesting question. I think of it because of a comment Rick Jacobs left on Louis’ guest post here last week, directed at Louis: Standing up for yourself can be tougher than one thinks. […]

  • 123. Ķĭŗîļĺę&  |  April 19, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Unfortunately, Felyx is already back in the US, and I'm still in Russia. So, if Louis wants to meet up, sure, but he has to know that I was the one calling him Mary Nelly back in the day, since then I've also had a change of heart and take my words back.

    No wonder Louis became anti-gay living in Russia… for some inexplicable reason most Russians are very anti-gay, especially anti-male-gay.

  • 124. Americans Say Let ‘&hellip  |  April 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    […] The Internet. Telling stories changes minds as we saw with Louis Marinelli right here on P8TT. The Internet allows for many more of those stories to be told and more importantly viewed very […]

  • 125. demandequality  |  July 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    You believe lying Lou's bullshit? He wants the gAyTM to pay for his summer vacation with his Russian shackup. He is broke and after he conned LGBT people to pay for his airfare home from Russia, he figured he got them. So he started his summer vacation scam. Here's the details about his scam http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=
    and here's Lying Lou's threats to donors to Russ Feingold where he spent 6 hours trying to get these donors killed (six weeks before he allegedly decided to be for marriage equality) http://www.twitlonger.com/show/bt2sh0

    Check August 28, Sept 3 & 4 & 8th on http://twitter.com/ConservDispatch to see how many donors to Feingold and Barbara boxer lying Lou tried to get killed. He tweeted the name of a school because a teacher who had not taught there in 10 years had donated to Feingold three years earlier.

    You believe this homo-hot-&-bothered teabagging republiTHUG. I didn't give a fuck what he thought about marriage equality before and I don't give a fuck what he thinks now. What he wants is to use LGBT people as a cover to rip off LGBT people for his summer vacation.

    He was upset with me back last September when I retweeted his threats to Feingold donors because I wrote to the FBI, Twitter & Feingold "@louisjmarinelli is trying to get ___ killed".

    I told him I would expose his con now. Prop8trialtracker you are being used by this con man.

    HEY LYING LOU FUCK YOU

  • 126. Fleta  |  November 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve been loniokg for a post like this forever (and a day)

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