Louis Marinelli’s Surprise Conversion Reaffirms Harvey Milk’s Message: COME OUT

By now you’ve probably heard about (former) NOM Strategist Louis Marinelli‘s conversion to the side of equality. Here are two links in case you haven’t.

First, Jeremy Hooper of Good As You broke the story with a detailed post and interview:

While still not in full support of homosexuality on some levels (where he needs our help to correct misinformation), Louis is now [a] repudiating virtually all of the vitriol that he put on the public record; [b] is owning up to the major role that he’s played with NOM, including admitting that he was the impetus behind the whole summer tour; and [c] is coming out in full support of the civil marriage rights that gay people are seeking.

From there we go to Marinelli’s own blog:

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.

It seems to me that what we have here is tangible proof of what LGBT leaders have been saying at least as far back as Harvey Milk.

We must destroy the myths once and for all. Shatter them. We must continue to speak out, and most importantly every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family, you must tell your relatives, you must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends, you must tell your neighbors, you must tell the people you work with, you must tell the people in the stores you shop in, and once they realize that we are indeed their children and that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all. And once you do you will feel so much better.

Arisha Hatch, who led 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 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.”

Once he got to know LGBT people Louis didn’t get it either, and that’s what made him question the lies.

Never let yourself forget: Living our lives with integrity is the best tool we have in the struggle for civil rights.