BREAKING: NOM’s Louis comes out for civil marriage equality; credits bus tour for change of heart

April 8, 2011 at 7:45 am 128 comments

By Adam Bink

You read that right. P8TT friend Jeremy Hooper has the exclusive. If you need reminding, here’s our Louis (hi, Louis!):

Today, Jeremy published an interview with Louis in which he (a) repudiates many of the things he wrote on NOM’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter feed. Examples of Louis’ responses:

Any support or endorsement of what Peter LaBarbera does I retract. I have been reading via Twitter and his website what this guy has to say, and it is clear that he is just a hateful man and I would be embarrassed and ashamed to be associated with him.

Furthermore, the issues Peter takes on, even if they were true, are not in themselves valid reasons for denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage. I am aware how he was upset by my public support for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in December. His reasoning for such seemed to be something along the lines of “in order to protect marriage, you have to oppose everything homosexuals do”. If that were the case, Peter, how far should we go in restricting homosexuals’ lives?

___________________________________________________________

I once wrote or implied that all homosexuals are single, even if they had at some point or another, been legally married by the state. While in the eyes of the Catholic faith, these same-sex unions aren’t recognized as marriages insofar as holy matrimony is concerned, I retract this statement now that I have been able to see and distinguish and understand the differences between religious and civil marriage.

___________________________________________________________

I quoted from the research of Paul Cameron when I said that homosexuals have a shorter life-span. I must say that when I quoted this man I was not aware of his history and here and now do not wish to comment on the legitimacy or irrelevance of the man’s work as I am neither a psychologist nor does psychology interest me.

What I said, referring to the life-spans of homosexuals, I continue to believe in the following context: Any group of people that contract any viral disease more than the general public due to the nature of their lifestyle, logically, will have a life-expectancy lower than that of the general populace.

However, that kind of rhetoric, implying that gay men are unworthy of civil marriage due to any particular health issues surrounding their sexual activity was both inappropriate and offensive. It is for those reasons, that I retract this statement.
_____________________________________________________________

I consider myself agnostic and while homosexual acts may very well be “immoral” in the eyes of Christian morality, I can no longer stand by any comments I’ve made in the past about the immorality of homosexuality. There are a variety of different sets and sources of morals and no one has the right to impose their set on the rest of society.

Wow.

Louis goes onto to credit the tour stop in Atlanta as being the first stop on his road to changing his heart. You may remember Atlanta as the site of Arisha’s discussion with Alveda King:

and where 254 equality supporters turned out to silently and peacefully oppose the 20 or so NOM supporters:

Equality supporters in Atlanta getting ready to march to the statehouse

Here’s Louis:

As you may already know, I was the one behind the 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour which the National Organization for Marriage sponsored and operated throughout July and August last year. It was my doing when, in March that year, I approached Brian Brown about sponsoring and participating in a series of traditional marriage rallies scattered around the Nation.

In fact, the tour route itself, while chosen largely by NOM itself, incorporated as many of the sites I had originally chosen and helped independently organize. Other locations were added due to strategic, political or simply logistical purposes.

Ironically, one of the last tour stops added to the itinerary was Atlanta and I bring this site up because it was in Atlanta that I can remember that I questioned what I was doing for the first time. The NOM showing in the heart of the Bible-belt was dismal and the hundreds of counter-protesters who showed up were nothing short of inspiring.

Even though I had been confronted by the counter-protesters throughout the marriage 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.

If my transition from opponent to supporter of same-sex civil marriage was a timeline, Atlanta would be indicated by the first point on the line. The next point on that timeline would be two months later.

For the rest of that story, you’ll have to check out Jeremy’s interview.

As many of you may remember, I first came onboard P8TT last summer to document the NOM tour here on the front page. All I can say is, I am proud of this site and the people and organizations behind turning out so many equality supporters. I am proud that Arisha, Anthony, Phyllis and Danny spent weeks on the road to document the tour and force NOM and their staff to answer the hard questions. As you can see from reading Jeremy’s interview, the experience of talking to Anthony and our staff and reading this blog and your comments, and seeing so many real families who just want the same basic civil rights as anyone else, ended up making the difference. Over one thousand of you contributed on this very page to fund NOM Tour Tracker expenses to support this work, and ended up changing the mind of one of NOM’s leaders. We made a difference together!

If you continue to support the work we’re doing tracking NOM and want to chip in to get more success stories (Maggie next? Sky’s the limit!!), here’s that page again. Thanks for your support, thanks for making this page a place to change hearts and minds, and here’s to seeing what happens next!

Entry filed under: NOM Tour Tracker, Right-wing.

Open thread: Community guidelines Honoring the Courage of Louis Marinelli

128 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

    finding it difficult to “orient” myself to Louis’s change of heart…waiting for the “punch” line : /

    Reply
    • 2. Kathleen  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Same here! All I can say is I sincerely hope this is for real and if it is, I say “Welcome, Lous.” Maybe he can help change other minds as well.

      I’m so stunned by the news that it’s hard to react.

      Reply
    • 3. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Had the same thought. Do hope it is for real.

      Reply
    • 4. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

      Yup. The test will be the next few days as pressure from the Religious Right mounts. I hope he is sincere but we’ll see.

      Reply
  • 5. DazedWheels  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:53 am

    :-)
    … and subscribing.

    Reply
  • 6. Doug  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Holy smokes! Who’d have thunk? First Maggie is credited with changing anti-equality miinds in legislature, now Louis is a convert. Hi, Louis! Welcome over to the pink side.

    Reply
    • 7. Carpool Cookie  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:55 am

      It’s not the pink side….it’s just the Enlightened / Rational Side.

      I think more people are feeling comfortable becoming Pro Equality when they realize it doesn’t even necessarily have that much to do with any specifics of LGBT individuals or “community”…it is more about us all being fellow human beings (and in our case, Americans)

      Reply
      • 8. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 6:35 am

        Cheers to the enlightened side!! p.s. I got my Hitchcock book…carrying around in my backpack for 2 weeks…looking forward to a quiet moment when can savor it.

        Reply
  • 9. Menergy  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Lots of skepticism over on Joe.My.God blog — as if “something’s ‘off’…”

    Reply
    • 10. Roger  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Menergy, as one of the people who posted on JMG this morning, I think it is wise to be sceptical at this point.

      Yes, hearts can change; but (as Mrs Shrivistav will tell us) even God requires the shriven sinner to prove his repentance is real by making reparation to those his sins have harmed before He grants His forgiveness. Until we see Mr Marinelli doing that, we should be very cautious about bestowing ours..

      Reply
      • 11. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

        Check out the latest page… it seems he is doing just that!

        I have to say, this is really big considering what a sham NOM is. Louis speaking out really makes him an advocate even if this is as far as he goes. This is the kind of thing that NOM will have to take a hit for regardless of the attempt at spin.

        Reply
  • 12. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Am I dreaming? Please, someone pinch me very hard so that I know this is real!

    Reply
  • 13. Sagesse  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

    To read and ponder later. It is understandable to be skeptical of Louis’s ‘conversion’.

    Reply
    • 14. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:06 am

      his main point I think:
      (from http://louisjmarinelli.com/politics/i-now-support-full-marriage-equality)

      Once you understand the great difference between civil marriage and holy marriage, there is not one valid reason to forbid the former from same-sex couples, and all that is left to protect is the latter.

      Reply
      • 15. Shannon  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

        This is a point I made last weekend in the comment thread. So many people don’t understand the distinctions between religious marriage and civil marriage, because THEY got married in a church and their civil license was probably signed by a minister. This is why the “churches will be forced to marry gays” argument plays well among some people.
        We need to be more clear in our public campaigns that we’re seeking CIVIL marriage, the “city hall” kind. Sure, some of us might get married in our gay-friendly churches too, but there’s no sense talking about that. Everyone’s church/faith is different and we shouldn’t be debating that. We’re debating civil law.

        Reply
        • 16. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 6:37 am

          I was thinking of your post Shannon when I quoted Louis : ) Been thinking about it a lot actually….I concur.

          Reply
        • 17. grod  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

          @Shannon
          I have gotten into the habit of using ‘marriage equality’ rather than ‘same sex marriage’ in my thoughts and comments. When referring to marriage equality, I will do my best to refer to civil marriage equality.
          Good point.
          A lesson for me from Louis’s actions is that CC’s NoM Campaign, including those who went to locations on he Tour or who wrote view-points such as those found here make a difference. CC, its donors and supports, can not expect to gage the true/full impact of an initiative in the short term.

          Reply
      • 18. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

        I find that a little disingenuous since it was his organization along with the FRC and Focus on the Family and others that blurred that distinction in the first place. They’re the ones who outright said that churches would be forced to marry LGBT and that chaplains would leave in droves if DADT were repealed.

        Perhaps in the end he started to believe his own propaganda and now realizes better. I hope so, anyway.

        Reply
  • 19. Ed Cortes  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

    It’s STILL hard to believe this!! I am so amazed that I’m speechless (except for this drawn-out subscribe note)!!

    Reply
  • 20. LCH  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:02 am

    fascinating

    ♀♀=♂♂=♀♂=∑♡

    Reply
  • 21. Joel  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:04 am

    After all of Louis’ vitriolic statements, his endorsement of hateful bigots, and his behavior in public, I think one has to be suspicious. I am ready to welcome Louis as fellow freedom advocate, but only after he makes up for some of the damage he’s done. Will he now make the commitment to fighting FOR our rights that he did to fighting against them? Or is his recant a statement that he is simply dropping the issue?

    Welcome to the fold, Louis, although you’ll forgive me if I still have my reservations. Like Gregory, I too find myself waiting for the “punch-line.”

    Reply
    • 22. Carpool Cookie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

      “Will he now make the commitment to fighting FOR our rights that he did to fighting against them? Or is his recant a statement that he is simply dropping the issue?”

      Dropping the issue and apologizing for it is GREAT and an ENORMOUS thing. The specifics of this situation aside, I don’t think we need conservatives fighting “for” Equality so much as we just need them to stop opposing it. For example, if conservative individuals had just abstained from voting on Prop 8, either way, it would have been defeated. They didn’t necessarily have to vote against it for it to pass.

      Reply
  • 23. AndrewPDX  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Please tell me this isn’t a week-late April Fool’s joke. If not, thank you Louis for standing up and speaking the truth within your heart.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

    Reply
    • 24. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:10 am

      Hi Andrew : ) I know….it seems strange. But I can relate as I went through a similar “conversion” 3 1/2 yrs ago.

      Reply
      • 25. John  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

        First, Wow. I’m kind of speechless.

        Second, like Gregory, I also went through the same kind of “conversion”. There is hope. Not all right-wing people are completely close minded. Some have just been lied to for a long time.

        Reply
        • 26. Andrea  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

          Guess this shows we should never write anyone off.

          Wow.

          Wow wow wow.

          Reply
          • 27. Tigger  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

            I have always felt Maggie is reachable myself. We shall see but I don’t hear the hate and disdain in her voice that I do from the AFA and Brian. I think she is stuck on the holy sacrament thing and what catholic teachings say is marriage. Hopefully she will see what Louis has in that civil and religious marriage are two different things.

          • 28. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 6:44 am

            Sometimes wish I could just sit and visit with Maggie, interview her privately/confidentially to try understand her better. She seems to have some deep hurts and negative beliefs. May seem “corny” but I try to project Love and Light in her direction whenever I encounter her in cyberspace. Hopes she takes time to consider Louis’s conversion.

    • 29. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:21 am

      It’s not. Louis had been talking about it for some time.

      Reply
  • 30. Mackenzie  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    excuse me as i pick my jaw up off the floor! :D

    Reply
  • 31. rf  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:26 am

    He’s setting out to brand himself separately from NOM and PM as this comes just after the launch of his new website and Facebook page. Whether he’s really had a change of heart or he realizes that his side is a dead end–he is only 25 after all and he has to think about his future–I don’t know. But I’m guessing that he wants to be more famous than an English teacher in Russia and he has to know by now that Mags and her kind will be in the garbage can of history in 10 -15 years, while he will be in his early 40s. It could also be a stunt for NOM or for his brand launch as this does garner him attention greater than his previous fame as the sleazy ignorant bus driver that we all make fun of. But the words are out there and I assume can be used against him if that is the case.

    I will be cautiously optimistic. It’s my belief that it was his family upbringing that gave him his views and they are very likely appalled at what he has just done. He’s young, maybe he just knows better now.

    Reply
    • 32. rf  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:35 am

      Also on the PM facebook page, Louis just changed the contact info to his new website and took down the defend doma stuff. He must be done with NOM?

      Reply
  • 33. DebbieC  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:27 am

    An email interview? How do we know he wasn’t spoofed or hacked? I want to believe this, but I’ve been running into too many evil people of late and I’m very suspicious. It just feels like a late April fools joke.

    Reply
    • 34. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:28 am

      Jeremy talked with Louis extensively over Skype for some time now.

      Reply
      • 35. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:34 am

        appreciate the re-assurance Adam.

        Reply
    • 36. John  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:44 am

      I checked the date of the post when I saw it come through.

      Reply
  • 37. Nicole  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:35 am

    If this is sincere, then I think I can say that I have so much more respect for him as a person now than I have for a lot of people. What this man is doing takes courage. If anyone has ever stood up to their friends and comrades, you’d know how hard it can be.

    He has done and said some nasty stuff but I don’t feel that he owes me or anyone else anything now. I think no one here can claim that they’ve never been ignorant about anything in their lives. Resentment and isn’t the best of virtues. A good thumbs up, and a token of forgiveness, is all that is necessary at this point.

    Reply
    • 38. Sydney  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

      I agree, Nicole. I’m a little disappointed with some of the responses here. How many people in their entire lives actually 1. care about something enough to engage politically and 2. think about something enough to actually change their minds and admit they were wrong.

      As Nicole said, it takes a tremendous amount of courage. If this is the kind of change of heart we are looking for from those who currently oppose marriage equality, we need to be faster to open our arms to them and affirm even small steps in the right direction. I think our suspicion does more harm to our cause than whatever the results may be if it turns out that Louis is just manipulating us for his own political gain.

      Reply
    • 39. DaveP  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

      I’m certainly glad to hear that he has had a change of heart, and I don’t bear a grudge, but I do disagree with the comment above ” I don’t feel that he owes me or anyone else anything now.”

      He has done a tremendous amount of harm and there is a huge fundamental difference between an APOLOGY and an AMENDS. Telling people he is sorry for past actions is a nice start, but he needs to do more than that to clear up the wreckage he has left in his wake. Time will tell and his ACTIONS will prove if he means what he says, not just a few words. Will he put effort into helping the cause of equal marriage rights? Will he speak up publicly on our behalf and tell his story? Will he stop supporting anti-equality organizations, or better yet, work to change them? Time will tell and I certainly wish him the best in these efforts.

      Reply
      • 40. Nicole  |  April 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

        I understand where a lot of people are coming from with this. I also honestly believe he was doing what he may have thought was right at the time. That’s only what we’re all doing here.

        It looks like he apparently wasn’t fully aware of the hurt that he causes to people and this country. We know that much because when he did finally realize this, he let go of this hurtful philosophy. Maybe this is just my Buddhist faith speaking, but I can’t feel as if a future of guilt for Louis at our gain will bring any of us peace.

        Reply
        • 41. DaveP  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm

          It’s not a matter of guilt, it’s a matter of taking personal responsibility for setting things right.

          If I borrow a hundred dollars from someone and don’t pay them back, simply telling them “sorry I haven’t paid you back” does not set things right. It’s just an apology, it’s not making amends for my actions.

          Paying them their money and THEN saying “I’m sorry I took too long and I’ll make sure I never do that again” is more of an amends to set things right.

          See the difference? It’s not guilt and grovelling, it’s correcting the situation through my actions.

          Reply
          • 42. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 6:58 am

            Good morning Dave…thx for responding to the other post : )

            What if there is nothing to correct? If someone takes $100 from me I figure they must really need/want it. I don’t expect an apology or explanation. I appreciate the way you live your life and I’m glad it works for you. I’m proposing there are alternative ways to view an event.

    • 43. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      On a personal level, sure he earns some respect for me for being willing to admit a mistake and change his mind. I know how hard that can be. So, yea on a purely personal level I agree.

      But – and this is the big point here – I didn’t make a career of running around telling dangerous and hurtful lies. He did. He has an obligation to try to fix it as best he can. The worms can never be put back in the can but he still needs to try. A public apology that can be easily shared is a good start, but it is only a start.

      Reply
  • 44. Joel  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:38 am

    I wonder, just to play devil’s advocate, if one of us would be received with the same skepticism if we were suddenly to switch sides? An unlikely thing, and vastly hypothetical, but what if Adam or Arisha suddenly had an evil epiphany and decided to join the NOMzies?

    I know. They would immediately claim a victory for the Lord, marriage, and the American way of life.

    Would they really be so gullible? My mind reels with the possibilities ( mostly cinematic, though, I must confess. Along the lines of John Grisham).

    Reply
    • 45. Joel  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Or perhaps more Joe Keenan.

      Reply
      • 46. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 7:02 am

        Isn’t that what happened to Karyme Lozano?

        Reply
    • 47. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

      Oh, man. I’d rather have a tooth pullled. Or five.

      Reply
  • 48. JAB  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:51 am

    This is beautiful!
    Welcome Louis. We always appreciated your sincerity of belief.

    Reply
  • 49. Mackenzie  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I wander how mad NOM is?!

    Reply
    • 50. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:24 am

      awaiting Brian and Maggie’s response too!

      Reply
  • 51. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:59 am

    My Grandmother, who I loved dearly, once told me “Be careful who you hate; they might just become your best friend!”

    And now *I* eat crow as I think back to all he vitriol I spent on Louis myself. Can it be that we are on a similar page now? Choosing rationality over hysterical blind devotion? I think Louis set out to prove something with the bus tour and indeed he may have done just that. In fact, I wonder if NOM’s (somewhat abusive) treatment towards him opened his eyes as to what kind of (dys)organization they are.

    I have to leave off with an open request… I hope you can overlook my faults Louis. I am not a really bad person. Rather, I am hurt, afraid and confused at times… it goes with being human.

    I think today is a good day.

    Reply
    • 52. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

      I would just add a personal note to LJM (as I don’t seem to be able to send a note through facebook):

      If you are ever in my neck of the woods, stop by for some authentic chai and a few kopek (copeck) souvenirs. The Russian connection is strong in this house so there would be much to reminisce about.

      Reply
    • 53. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 7:03 am

      great comment Felyx “Be careful who you hate…” Thank you!

      Reply
  • 54. AnonyGrl  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Wow. Just Wow.

    If this is actually true, then I am not only stunned, but I am ecstatic!

    You know what, folks? THIS proves that what we do COUNTS in a very solid and verifiable way.

    Louis, I am glad to see you’ve come to that realization. Honestly, that is ALL we are looking for. Equality in civil marriage. I am very happy that you see the difference, and are saying so out loud.

    Now, of course, you do need to understand that so many people have been hurt by what you said in the past that there will be a great deal of resentment and disbelief, but if you continue to speak out, and to let people know that your position has changed, that will fade too. Past hurts will take time to heal, but if you really want to heal them, as I hope you do, you certainly can.

    Reply
    • 55. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

      ditto AnonyGrl, the whole exercise has been to change peoples minds,

      the likes of NOM are finding another position, than the end one of the extreme, the difference like this of protecting Holy Matrimony, as opposed to civil unions is a very good move for them to make, they can somewhat keep face , and move along ending HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS< against us…

      it's an necessary shift in thinking, considering the fact that they will have to adjust to changes in the law that are inevitable,,,,,

      Reply
  • 56. Laurel  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

    A very heartfelt “HI LOUIS!!!” This is what it is about. Changing hearts, one person at a time.

    Reply
    • 57. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Seconded! Hi Louis and welcome to the thinking side. I hope you stay :)

      If you want to more information on the reality of homosexuality and marriage equality and DADT repeal there are wonderful resources here and other places. I am sure people would be delighted to send you a whole host of book and movie and link recommendations.

      I’ll start: There is a wonderful documentary called For The Bible Tells Me So about LGBT and the Bible. If you aren’t quite ready for that – and I understand if you aren’t – just hang around here and read the comments. Check out the links.

      And this goes for any lurker or fence-sitter here. We are usually nice here.

      Reply
      • 58. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm

        That documentary is outstanding! I second the recommendation – moving and powerful.

        Reply
  • 59. LCH  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I’ve read the rest of the article and here are my two cents. I believe that he at least does not oppose civil marriage, that’s all that matters.

    Why I believe him:

    1) He still thinks sex attraction is wrong – Short of coming out, I’d be very skeptical of his new civil marriage view if he turned around his view on sexual orientation with the same speed. Not that I don’t think people can change on that but it would be too convenient to believe.

    2) I think I know which equality group he’s been hanging out in with, so I’m, pretty sure he’s not making that one up.

    3) He’s got some other motivation for distancing himself from NOM: he wants legitimacy for his new website.

    Reply
  • 60. Ann S.  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Fascinating.

    Reply
  • 61. BobbyBear  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Hi Louis!!!

    Reply
  • 62. TPAKyle  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Apparently, NOM’s check bounced.

    Reply
    • 63. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:30 am

      money is always a possible factor.

      Reply
  • 64. Shannon  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I hope this NOM defection adds at least a tiny seed of self-doubt into the minds of those who still work with NOM…. like a little crack in a big concrete wall.
    Maybe the NOMers aren’t all the sorry, pathetic souls that they make themselves out to be.

    Reply
  • 65. bJason  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

    With skeptical optimism I say a hardy “HI LOUIS”.

    Reply
  • 66. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

    The other thing I might add — which adds to Louis’ authenticity — is that Louis operates NOM’s Facebook page and social media. He’s in the process of, er, making some revisions, you could say.

    Reply
    • 67. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

      OH!

      Reply
    • 68. Rev. Will Fisher  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Louis has a change of heart/mind.

      This makes me think the Sabres have a shot! LET’S GO BUFFALO!!!

      Reply
      • 69. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:11 am

        Rev, just because Louis changed his mind doesn’t mean miracles abound. :P

        Reply
        • 70. Rev. Will Fisher  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

          Adam, Louis, and I have suffered through 4 consecutive Super Bowl losses and ‘no goal’! Hope is all we got…

          Reply
          • 71. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

            What Will said.

      • 72. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

        Let’s go Buffalo!! Big game tonight.

        Reply
    • 73. rf  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

      He has already told a friend of mine that he plans to use the page as a personal site so no one needs to keep tracking the page for anti-gay posts, there will be none anymore. He can’t change the name but I’m sure he wants some of those 300k fans to stay.

      Reply
  • 74. Linda  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I don’t understand why understanding the difference between civil marriage and holy matrimony made such an impact on a self-identified agnostic. Why would that distinction matter to him?

    And I had no idea that the whole summer marriage tour was Louis’ brainchild. Did I miss something? 25-year-old Louis was calling the shots all summer long? Really?

    And now he’s launching his own website. Time will tell, I guess.

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

      I posted items with links and they may be being held in moderation. In both I mentioned an article about the confusion between religious marriage in a church with the certificate signed by a priest and a civil marriage at city hall signed by a JotP. Clarifying the two significantly increased support.

      Reply
  • 76. Jon  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

    People can change.

    People can grow.

    Growth is not always easy. It takes time, effort, willingness to listen and really hear, the ability to challenge one’s assumptions, see more clearly.

    Congratulations Louis.

    Reply
  • 77. Randy  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

    WTF?! That about sums it up.

    If this is true, Louis could be a great asset to convert other hearts and minds. Sign him up!

    Reply
    • 78. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:09 am

      *rummaging around for a spare toaster oven*

      Reply
      • 79. Carpool Cookie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:08 am

        Wow…if only we had enough Target Points to get him a whole kitchen remodel??

        Reply
        • 80. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:36 am

          LOLROTF : D

          Reply
  • 81. Ed  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

    And….still not a PEEP about this from NOM on their blog….(or anything about the Arkansas decision, for that matter…)

    Reply
    • 82. AnonyGrl  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:03 am

      They do tend to avoid talking about their failures, Ed… so that is not too surprising. :)

      Reply
    • 83. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      I suspect that either they won’t even mention it, or it will be something boilerplate and generic like “Louis has decided to pursue other opportunities and we wish him well.”

      :)

      Reply
      • 84. Greg  |  April 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

        That’s not wide of the mark. NOM has released a statement nothing that Louis has chosen a different “focus”. Probably the understatement of the year.

        Reply
  • 85. Bill  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I am glad he had a change of heart.

    But I believe that change of heart came from a personal acknowledgment that his hatred and bigotry would begin to have an effect on his bank account, and not that he feels that LGBT citizens should be treated equally via the law.

    I would not for a single second trust a word that comes out of this man’s mouth.

    If this ‘change of heart’ isn’t rooted in money, I’ll eat my own arm.

    Reply
  • 86. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I sincerely hope this is true, though I’m sure it’s much more complex than just a simple conversion. Louis seems like he might be a thoughtful person to some degree, and thoughtful people often change their minds once they decide to think for themselves (not something that’s always encouraged in socially conservative political spheres.)

    That said, I’m sure we’ll never know the entire story about what catalyzed this move–maybe TPAKyle’s right and the check bounced, maybe he’s thinking ahead about being on the right side of history, maybe NOMmers were dismissive of his efforts, maybe promo for the new website, hell, maybe hopes for a political run–but most of those objectives could have been accomplished without a public recantation.

    The future will clearly tell if Mr. Marinelli is interested in truly healing the damage he inflicted to those real humans whose civil rights he claims he now values, or if he just wants to drop the same-sex marriage hot potato for personal/political/promotional reasons and is willing to leave us alone. Either way is fine, but I’d have more hope for humanity if Louis tried to realize full mensch potential by becoming an actual friend of marriage equality rather than just abstaining.

    Reply
  • 87. Trish  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Wow. Just stopping in to say hi and thank you to the P8TT for helping Louis to realize in his heart that marriage equality is simply right and fair.

    Reply
  • 88. AnonyGrl  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I think it is time for perhaps another episode of “ON THE BUS.” This one is titled “Time to get off the bus.”

    The bus is parked at a NOM rally. We are inside, and it is dark. From outside we hear a melange of sound. Brian, then Maggie speak on a loudspeaker, spouting their usual noise, and a large crowd of protesters chant strong, positive words that overpower them.

    Brian’s Voice (amplified, but hard to hear over the unamplified chanting): And so we must continue to protect traditional marriage. And now, ladies and gentlemen, Maggie Gallagher.

    Maggie’s Voice: Thank you Brian. Marriage is about responsible procreation….

    As Maggie continues, the lights slowly come up on the inside of the bus, and we see Louis sitting, listening, looking unhappy. After a long moment, he shakes his head and stands up. He reaches in his pocket and pulls out the bus keys, playing with them for a minute. Finally, and with finality, he puts them down on the table on top of the computer keyboard. He reaches under the table and pulls out an obviously packed suitcase. Slowly, he heads to the door. He takes his coat from a hook, drapes it over his shoulder, takes one last look around and shakes his head in disbelief for a moment, then leaves, shutting the lights off before he closes the door. For a moment, we hear the protesters outside, and they completely drown Maggie out.

    Fade to black.

    Reply
    • 89. DaveP  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:48 am

      …… and then there were two………..

      Reply
      • 90. be4marriage  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm

        Oh, the young Thomas Peters has now joined NOM as their “Director of Culture”, so it’s technically down the three.

        Reply
        • 91. DaveP  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

          What on earth does a “Director of Culture” do for an organization like NOM?

          Selects the classical music playing in the background when callers are on hold?

          Designs the menus for NOM Brunches?

          Approves the design of the newest NOM Polo shirts?

          Decorates their offices and the interior of the bus?

          Sounds more like something the HRC would have…

          (Yeah, I went there.)

          Reply
    • 92. Maggie4NoH8  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

      AnonyGrl – honestly, you should be in the movies!

      This is the best “It Gets Better” for P8TT’s yet!

      Reply
      • 93. Michelle Evans  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:23 am

        That’s actually something Louis should do. Post a video on the It Gets Better site. That would also go a long ways to dispel any doubts some people might have. It would be a very positive statement about how someone who used to be against civil marriage equality found that they were doing much harm, and want to now make up for some of that harm in getting the message to others like that who can also change. That’s a video that could go viral.

        Reply
        • 94. Ann S.  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

          Michelle, that is a GREAT idea.

          Louis, are you reading this???

          Reply
        • 95. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

          !!

          Reply
        • 96. bJason  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

          What Ann said, Michelle! Great idea.

          Reply
        • 97. AnonyGrl  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

          He does NOT approve of homosexuality. He makes that clear on his website.

          What he has changed his mind about is EQUALITY.

          Personally, I am fine with that. He can hold any opinion he wants about homosexuality, as long as he stops trying to legislate descrimination. But I think it unlikely that he will post an “It Gets Better” video.

          Small steps are OK though… thanks for coming as far as you have, Louis.

          Reply
          • 98. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm

            I don’t know… he did mention his other youtube videos… maybe he might make one in turn as a statement of support. (For equality and children who need real guidance as opposed to mindless NOM chanting.)

            It could happen.

          • 99. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 7:06 am

            good point. “It gets better” is probably not a good match. But a video in support would be welcome!

    • 100. bJason  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      “a melange of sound…”

      Anonygrl, you rock! :)

      Reply
    • 101. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      :)

      I hope you have saved copies of all of these…

      Reply
  • 102. RebeccaRGB  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa… How is this not an April Fools joke? Amazing! I’m cautiously optimistic…

    Hi Louis. :)

    Reply
  • 103. Sean  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I know it’s been forever since I posted anything on this site (blame the stress of college life!) but I simply had to express my awe!! It just goes to show that YES, this is the winning side, this is the morally RIGHT side, and more and more people will realize that with time.

    I’m only gonna say this once: BOO-YAH!!

    Reply
  • 104. CaliGirl  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

    If this is true, wow. Not just ‘wow’ for the change of heart, but ‘WOW’ for the courage to challenge and look critically at own’s own beliefs and, not only that, but the courage to look at those mistakes, look at the world, and say, “I was wrong here, and this is why.”

    It’s way easier to ignore contradictory evidence in favor of one’s own beliefs. If this is true, then, hey, I say, “Welcome to our community, Louis.” :)

    Side note: WOW, how is NOM going to spin this? My head hurts just thinking about it.

    Reply
    • 105. Sean  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

      I hadn’t even thought about how NOM plans on spinning this one! That should be a treat!!

      Reply
    • 106. Phillip R  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      I don’t imagine they’ll say much of anything about it. Easier to sweep it under the rug.

      Reply
  • 107. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I trust Adam and Arisha on this one as I’ve never met Louis myself. Come here, you! *hug* Welcome to the right side of history! More computer-savvy PR folks are always welcome. :)

    Reply
  • 108. Ronnie  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

    NO ME DIGAS?!!!!….. <3…Ronnie

    Reply
  • 109. thoughtful  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This comes a little too close to April 1st for comfort.

    Reply
  • 110. Maggie4NoH8  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I welcome Louis to the fold!

    For all of those who *question* the sincerity:

    Apparently, he is 25. If you are older than 35 or 40, think back to what you thought you knew when you were 25.

    Is it the same as now? Or have you evolved? (Side note: if you HAVEN’T evolved, please take the time and make the effort! LOL )

    There is that old saying: “… if I only knew then what I know now…” OR: “hindsight is 20/20”

    In my early years, I was much more “Republican-esque” – I had an epiphany and have mended my ways. ;-)

    I too have been watching the NOM site, and it is with some humor, some irritation and some “well, what else can you expect” that I see no mention of Louis’ revelation, or NOM’s “losses”…

    Louis – if you are reading, can you please, please PERMANENTLY put your story on their site, and fix it so I can post on the NOM Blog (without ever, ever being banned again? I promise to play “nice”, albeit rationally!)…

    The sun is indeed shining today! Happy Friday everyone!

    Reply
    • 111. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Heh I’ll be 29 next week and what I know now is really different than what I believed then.

      Reply
    • 112. ebohlman  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

      Also, most males experience a spurt of brain maturation around 25 or so, replacing leftover adolescent cognitive styles with adult ones.

      Reply
  • 113. Straight for Equality  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Welcome aboard, Louis!

    I will follow the “trust but verify” philosophy.

    Reply
  • 114. the lone ranger  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

    simply “Wow!”

    Reply
  • 115. Carpool Cookie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Re this whole story:

    GOLLY GUMPTION ! ! ! !

    Or as Jo March would say, “Christopher Columbus!”

    Reply
  • 116. Alan E.  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Visibility is key, and this bus tour did the unthinkable of changing the opinion of one of the coordinators. It just goes to show that the more people who know gay people more personally, the more likely they will be supportive of equality.

    Reply
    • 117. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      That’s exactly right, Alan. Visibility is key.

      Reply
  • 118. Ginger  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I think this was my favorite part:

    “Once I wrote that homosexuals are deceitful people who care only about themselves or something to that effect. Honestly, aren’t we all? It was wrong for me to exclude everyone else from that description. We all lie and when it comes down to it, we will do what is best for ourselves. So throwing in a little levity, I stand by the comment but want to apologize for limiting its scope to the gay community.”

    I feel like that humor could only come from someone who has abandoned an idea of pure good and evil. I believe him.

    Reply
    • 119. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      I notice a distinct lack of the word “sin” there. I am also noticing less and less religious jargon in his writing in general. That is a bigger thing than anyone who hasn’t left the toxic Religious Right can understand. It represents an actual change of philosophy and way of looking at the world.

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he would quietly just drop the insistence that LGBT are sinners or sinful at all. He probably doesn’t think that anymore but doesn’t realize that or isn’t ready to let go of that yet.

      Reply
  • 120. Dave in CA  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    While this is welcome news, I too maintain a guarded skepticism until I see evidence in his actions of a true change of heart. There are three ingredients to an apology:

    Remorse – one must feel a true and permanent sense of having done wrong.
    Regret – one must express one’s regrets for having caused harm.
    Repair – one must take steps to undo the damage, visibly and materially.

    Louis seems to have achieved Remorse and Regret. I hope to see evidence of Repair:

    Denounce and expose NOM and its activities and methods and inner workings, and those of any affiliated organizations.
    Actively work to support same-sex, civil marriage.
    Publicly challenge the mis-statements and political machinations of organizations like NOM.

    You get the idea. Remorse and regret are fine as far as they go, but Repair is the proof of the pudding. Actions speak louder than words.

    Reply
    • 121. AnonyGrl  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      I agree… but let us keep in mind that he SHOULD NOT be pushed in that way. He has no obligation to do anything, and the fact that he has gone so far as to make this sort of a public statement is a fine thing!

      I do hope that he does want to make some ammends to the people he has hurt in the past, but I don’t want to drive him away by saying “YOU OWE US THIS!” because, really, he doesn’t.

      Reply
      • 122. Carpool Cookie  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm

        I agree, AnonyGrl ….he’s not in public office. People do not have to make resititution for having a change of heart or philosophy. It’s NICE if they do…but the vital thing is they stop whatever the damage is they were doing.

        I’m getting an image of applying pressure to a spurting artery, for some reason.

        An what kind of message does it send to everyone who’s thinking of apologizing or changing sides, if the concept is that they’re going to be called on the carpet and made to undo years and years of their life?

        Reply
        • 123. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 7:15 am

          Agree with AnonyGrl and CC

          Reply
    • 124. Greg  |  April 9, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      No, words speak louder than actions. Louis could have just moved on to another things, and dropped the subject entirely. But no, he chose to speak out – so his words speak louder than his actions.

      After all, words are all that NOM has – take away their words and they have nothing.

      I’m reminded of the parable of the Prodigal Son, who goes away and squanders his inheritance in riotous living. When he comes home he expects his father to treat him like a hired hand, but instead the father throws a big party to celebrate his return. We should show the same generosity of spirt, and not sink into small-mindedness. Today, we should celebrate Louis’ return – not castigate him for his past mistakes.

      Reply
  • 125. Chris G  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    So, I just tried to post this to Facebook and I got a pop-up that says it was blocked because it was reported as offensive or spammy.

    Reply
  • 126. Tony Sidaway  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Welcome to the fold, Louis. You are with friends.

    Reply
  • 127. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Even though I had been confronted by the counter-protesters throughout the marriage 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.

    Wow. Had to re-check the calender to make sure it wasn’t Apr 1st. Will definitely look into this more!

    Knowledge really is power. :)

    I’m hoping there isn’t a punch-line coming soon.

    Reply
  • 128. Owen  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Wow! If this is for real, big props to Louis Marinelli for seeing the truth.

    Reply

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