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Honoring the Courage of Louis Marinelli

NOM Tour Tracker Right-wing

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By Arisha Michelle Hatch

A few (very) quick thoughts that come to mind about Louis Marinelli’s news today.

Out of all the people on the NOM Tour, I could never quite understand why Louis cared so much about the freedom to marry. I got why Brian Brown was there, even “understood” Maggie Gallagher’s motivations, but Louis’ attachment to the issue always seemed puzzling to me. In part because he’s agnostic, in part because he’s so young, figuring Louis out became sort of a daily obsession for me – a daily dialogue between the two of us – many times off-camera.

I can remember saying to him at one point, “I just don’t get it. I just don’t get you.”

But I finished that tour and felt that we had become friends in a weird way. We had taken this long – sometimes stressful – road trip together; we both saw America through a very particular lens for a summer.

We hugged at the end.

I am so proud of what Louis said today. It takes real Courage to stand up to a boss like Brian; It takes real Courage to admit that you’ve changed your mind; and it takes tremendous Courage to do it in the public way that Louis has.


  • 1. Alan E.  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Who could not like you as soon as they meet you Arisha?

  • 2. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Agreed! 🙂

  • 3. Kathleen  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Arisha.

  • 4. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:33 am


  • 5. Ann S.  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Ditto ditto!

  • 6. Sagesse  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:32 am


  • 7. Ronnie  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:46 am

    me too….<3…Ronnie

  • 8. Joel  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I apologize for my pre copy's skepticism. If Louis has passed your muster, Arisha, he's passed mine, too.

    Welcome Louis, please accept an outstretched hand, offered warmly and with no reservations.

  • 9. Phillip R  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:59 am

    It's certainly wonderful news and does show how the minds of people (even the most adamant) can be changed.

    I will say that I'm a bit skeptical like some others around and understandably. He's done a fair bit of damage and it can be difficult to let bygones by bygones.

  • 10. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:03 am


  • 11. Fr. Bill  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Amen to that. It does take real courage to do the tough work and change one's mind. It takes real character to do so publicly. Louis is an example to us all. There's a saying I sometimes use in my sermons that gets a delayed laugh: "I've come to the conclusion that people who say they never have had a second thought most probably have never had a first!" Louis is obviously a thoughtful person.

  • 12. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

    '“I’ve come to the conclusion that people who say they never have had a second thought most probably have never had a first!”'

    Heh, I like that 🙂

  • 13. Canadian JAG  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:26 am

    excellent news and very inspiring that even if nothing else came from the bus tour (though I think much did) you can at least say definitively that you changed a mind and that is the whole point of this great project,
    Great work all!

  • 14. be4marriage  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

    This post made tears well up in my eyes. I really am proud of Louis today. In many ways, his announcement is more powerful to me than the President's recent decision to cease defending DOMA.

    I agree with Arisha, this announcement took so much courage and it really shows Louis' true character.

  • 15. StevenJ  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

    I'm a little skeptical, like we'll see a big reveal that someone hijacked Louis' web site. I feel this abrupt about-face is a waiting-for-the-punchline April Fool's joke. So I'll wait a little longer to see if the new actions match this change-of-heart dialogue.

    There is much work to be done, for sure. I can attest to that, having witnessed my own Indiana legislature move to write discrimination into our constitution.

  • 16. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Yes, Arisha, it does take tremendous courage to speak out about this type of transformation the way that Louis has. And I truly hope that this is only the beginning, and that he does take steps to make amends for the harm he has caused.

  • 17. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:08 am

    my thoughts:

    I see a theme about "repair" and "make amends" …aka restitution/repentance being suggested for harm done. To me, these ideas are related to religion… isn't that what some of the fuss has been over for past few days?

    I've been told many times I need to repent for my sins(related to gay sexual activity). How can I repent when I don't see that I've done something wrong. I don't follow any church that makes that requirement.

    It seems to me Louis acted out of his best socialized position….and now he knows better. What is there to restore/repair?

    I LOVE that he shared his change-of-heart process. To me that not necessary but appreciated! And a good model to share with others. Thank you Louis!

    p.s. I WELCOME any/all feedback. How else can I know if my post(s) offend or contribute?

  • 18. DaveP  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:26 am

    We're not talking about saying a rosary, we're just suggesting that people who have done harm and now want to change ought to take some action to actually undo some of the harm they have caused. Seems reasonable to me.

    It's not a penance or a punishment. I'm not the slightest bit religious but I try to use this as a general guideline for my own behavior. If I screw up I need to address it by taking some sort of action to set things right.

  • 19. Shawn P.  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I"ll second that thought. I think that his actions — giving the interviews, admitting that he was wrong, disassociating himself with other homophobes, scrubbing the website — are true and significant amends and deserve our notice and applause. We should welcome his change of heart and encourage other people to do likewise.

  • 20. grod  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    @Gregory in Salt Lake City
    Hi, what more is there to restore/repair? I'm with you. In reading the interview, the actions he has were of his doing.
    And what he did no doubt takes courage.
    Should he feel motivated to further assist the equality cause, that would be a bonus. While I tried to suppress the idea of mentioning his sharing insights into NOM , I feel compelled to write it. G

  • 21. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you Dave, Shawn, Grod for responding : )

  • 22. 415kathleenk  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Along with others I commend Louis for having the courage to (publicly) change his mind. I have no doubt that the exposure to Prop 8 tour trackers like you Arisha had a lot to do with it. Bravo

  • 23. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:09 am


  • 24. Lewis  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Ive gotten some discussion going about Louis on the NOM board about the Massassachusets ballot inititive, however looks like they are blocking me again… cant post anymore…

  • 25. up&Adam  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:43 am

    sorry, Arisha, I'm not buying into Louis's courage just yet. The recall vote on the Iowa Supreme Court Justices is still too fresh in my memory. Once you confirm that Louis has contributed financially to Courage Campaign, however small the amount, please let us know. Talk is cheap.

  • 26. Joe  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:02 am

    That's absolutely beautiful Arisha!

  • 27. Vic  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Louis – if you read these please know that you inspired me with your words. Not just the ones acknowleging the mistakes you made in lobbying against committed gay relationships, but also your call to American's to acknowlege that we have a wide acceptance of promiscuity in our lives- both gay and straight – and that maybe it's become too wide.

    While I would agree with the notion that on average gay's may exhibit more promiscuity, I hope that this epiphany you've had extends to the cause. As human beings, I believe at some point we all long for one other person to spend our life with – but when you grow up being told that your feelings toward another person are invalid, and then as adults that rejection is reinforced by law and religeon, what it leaves behind is a disconnected group of people, many of whom choose short term fulfillment rather than facing any more societial rejection than they already have.

  • 28. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Have to speak out on this one… I don't agree on average that gays are more promiscuous. Men perhaps more than women… but not all us who are gay male, even on average, are in anyway proved to have been more promiscuous. (Seriously, no honest studies have ever been done and certainly none have been done in pro-equality environments where marriage promotes personal commitment to an extent.)

    This is no reflection on Vic BTW… just another voice on the subject.

  • 29. Lora  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    You beat me to it. I know PLENTY of straight people, some who are married, that are way more promiscuous then my gay friends or I.

  • 30. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I Agree!

  • 31. Middle-American  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Louis: I am so impressed with you, I can't tell you. You are in an object lesson in (a) having a heart, and (b) having integrity.

    Arisha, Courage-ers, everyone who showed up to any counter-demonstration, and everyone contributing in any way here: This is an object lesson in the payoff of being assertive and honest about ourselves and how we live and how we feel. Love truly begets love. This is a huge success. And more huge successes will be forthcoming.

    NOM: You best institute tighter screening of your pals, allies, contractors, consultants, and bus drivers starting immediately. Don't involve people who think too much. Don't involve people with hearts or souls. Don't involve people with integrity. Don't involve people who are fundamentally decent or nice or compassionate or fair or thoughtful. Don't involve anyone with an open heart or mind.

  • 32. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Actually NOM… maybe you should just stop involving people altogether! LOL

  • 33. Middle-American  |  April 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    typo above, sorry:

    You are an object lesson in (a)….

  • 34. truthspew  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I posted the comment "Grazie amico mio!" on his site. I also had emailed him when he was doing the Bigot Cavalcade asking how he could espouse such outright discrimination when he was a member of a class who were discriminated against less than a century ago.

  • 35. tomato  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Wow, Louis! (hi, Louis!)

    I am without words to express my thoughts.
    I am very impressed.

  • 36. Not just a decision, a fo&hellip  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    […] just a decision today — a Courageous one, as Arisha noted earlier. But a follow-through on telling his story and begin making up lost time. Good for […]

  • 37. Bob Barnes  |  April 10, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Hey folks,

    Louis has a couple more months to go in Russia, and has given up his steady income for us. If you can spare a few bucks, please go to Louis’s page and hit the DONATE button.


  • 38. Louis Marinelli’s S&hellip  |  April 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    […] the Prop 8 Trial Tracker team that documented last summer’s bus tour, got to the heart of it in her post about Marinelli. Out of all the people on the NOM Tour, I could never quite understand why Louis cared so much […]

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