"I now support full marriage equality."
April 8, 2011 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Louis Marinelli, activist for the National Organization for Marriage and founder of their 2010 "Summer of Marriage" bus tour, has announced today that he now supports full marriage equality. Gay rights blog Good As You has a detailed rundown of the story, including a spotlight on NOM's immediate efforts to discredit Marinelli's involvement in their organization.
posted by palomar (80 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh. My. God(s)(esses).

Full body goosebumps. And then tears.

This is one of the most honest documents of someone having a major position change I have ever read.

I can't even really express what I'm feeling now, but none of it is negative.

Thanks so much for posting. I have to go wash the tear tracks off my face.

Truly an amazing document of courage and apology.

Oh, and fuck you NOM.
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on April 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


In short, if there is an issue of disbelief surrounding my newfound support for civil marriage equality, it is disbelief from those who surround me. If there is an issue of shame, it is a result of acknowledging the number of people I have targeted, hurt and oppressed. And if there is an issue of embarrassment, its roots lie in the face-to-face encounters I have had and expect to have with those with whom I once toiled over this very contentious issue.

Thank you for the honest and heartfelt apology. I'd welcome you to join our common struggle for rights, anytime.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2011 [11 favorites]


(okay, my feelings toward NOM are still negative)
posted by hippybear at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good for him. He really came a long way in his evolution. At first he can't even feel empathy for them...

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.

By the end he is coming to accept the difference between a civil right and a ceremony in a church.

He took a stand for what is right even though it meant sacrificing his political stance, and that can be a tough thing for people to do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Every time I get discouraged in trying to persuade people that their dogmatic views are misguided I am going to remember this guy and keep trying. Not everyone is capable of having this kind of change of heart, but it's worth it for the ones that are.
posted by signalnine at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2011 [18 favorites]


Holy fucking shit
posted by runehog at 4:21 PM on April 8, 2011


Well, damn. That's really wonderful.
posted by brundlefly at 4:21 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lastly, I came to understand the difference between civil marriage and holy marriage as in the sacrament of the Catholic Church. Let me rephrase. I understood that but either willingly chose not to accept it or just didn’t see it. Regardless, I see it now and the significance of that is as follows:
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.
Indeed Christians and Catholics alike are well within their right to demand that holy matrimony, a sacrament and service performed by the Church and recognized by the Church, remains between a man and a woman as their faith would dictate. However, that has nothing to do with civil marriage, performed and recognized by the State in accordance with state law.


- I have nothing more to add to this.
posted by cyphill at 4:22 PM on April 8, 2011 [26 favorites]


You don't see this kind of abrupt about-face very often. You get a sense of people mellowing as they age and as "times change", like your grandma not being as racist as she used to be, but to see this kind of road-to-Damascus conversion* is really quite amazing. It's a glimmer of hope I needed to see.

*irony!
posted by padraigin at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I kept reading and re-reading this, looking for the catch. There doesn't seem to be one. It's worth reading his seies of retractions of previous statements as well.
posted by KathrynT at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's... wow, that's awesome.
posted by gaspode at 4:26 PM on April 8, 2011


NOM NOM NOM!

(That's the sound of love, tolerance and acceptance eating away at the forces of prejudice and hate. And it's delicious.)
posted by crackingdes at 4:27 PM on April 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


Here is the AmIWorking post from RJ (now relocated to another blog) which helped provide Marinelli with the much-needed perspective.
posted by hippybear at 4:28 PM on April 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


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.
Is making that distinction really, seriously a problem people actually have? Are they not aware that unbelievers marry each other, often not at churches, often at ceremonies not officiated by priests? Or do they want to ban that as well?
posted by skymt at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


It should be noted that this:

Christians and Catholics alike are well within their right to demand that holy matrimony, a sacrament and service performed by the Church and recognized by the Church, remains between a man and a woman as their faith would dictate. However, that has nothing to do with civil marriage, performed and recognized by the State in accordance with state law.

is basically what the gay marriage proponents have always said, and those who tend to ignore that have typically been of the "this is a Christian nation" persuasion.

That said, good on him for recognizing that church and state are different.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


I admire the ego strength it must have required for him to admit that what he'd so publicly dedicated himself to for such a long time was completely misguided.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 4:35 PM on April 8, 2011 [11 favorites]


My sandwich tastes so much better with these salty tears on it.

This story gave my heart stretch marks.
posted by black rainbows at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mr. Marinelli? I'm raising one for you tonight. Thanks for helping to shore up my teetering faith in the basic decency of people.
posted by kipmanley at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2011 [5 favorites]


Did I accidentally go back in time and it's really April 1?

*checks*

No? Really? Okay! I'm just going to sit here and be amazed for a while.
posted by rtha at 4:46 PM on April 8, 2011


No, they [homosexuals] didn’t want to destroy American culture, they wanted to openly particulate in it.

He gets it.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh man. This is just so nice to see. (Especially after reading about bullshit political posturing all week.)
posted by grapesaresour at 4:55 PM on April 8, 2011


Of course he still believes homosexuality is sinful, a personal choice, and morally wrong, but... well, baby steps, I guess.
posted by mightygodking at 4:59 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


gays and lesbians . . . didn’t want to destroy American culture, they wanted to openly particulate in it

He still doesn't get it. I'm a gay man who's never been the least interested in particulating in American culture, and there are plenty like me!
posted by layceepee at 5:06 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


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.
Uh, yeah, baby steps.
posted by yeoz at 5:08 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I'm a gay man who's never been the least interested in particulating in American culture, and there are plenty like me!

Dude, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
posted by ardgedee at 5:09 PM on April 8, 2011 [26 favorites]


This is an amazing start.
posted by klangklangston at 5:10 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, baby steps, but just like a baby's steps, the first one is important. He's free to believe whatever twisted bigoted BS he wants to as long as he recognizes that his beliefs do not and should not influence the government or the law. He's still wrong, but he's allowed to be wrong.
posted by KathrynT at 5:10 PM on April 8, 2011 [24 favorites]


KathrynT: "He's still wrong, but he's allowed to be wrong."

Yes yes yes. Just like religious marriage and state marriage aren't the same thing, personal prejudice and institutional prejudice aren't the same thing.
posted by roll truck roll at 5:21 PM on April 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this is amazing. The power of simple contact with "those people" to create empathy should not be underestimated. When people realize that those whom they demonize are real people, it becomes harder to dehumanize them. Once you can't dehumanize them and realize they are just like you, it becomes almost impossible to sustain hateful positions, unless you make a living doing so. Even then, clearly people can and do change.

This is part of why the increasing class and partisan segregation is so dangerous. Because in contrast, the less contact you have with "the other side," the easier it is to harden your position and the less likely people are to become open to change and compromise. See: coming government shutdown...
posted by Maias at 5:23 PM on April 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


Good for you, Lou. Both for doing the right thing and for demonstrating to doubters that human growth and change are possible.
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know how when you are arguing about marriage or Israel/Palestine or atheism or whatever and someone says "no one's mind is ever changed by these discussions"?

Yeah.
posted by DU at 5:39 PM on April 8, 2011 [8 favorites]


This bit from the blog post that did so much to change Marinelli's mind really struck me:

On promiscuity – I agree with you completely and absolutely detest promiscuity. Let’s not forget, though, that monogamy was not originally a Jewish/Christian model of relationships (Jewish culture promoted polygyny). Instead, monogamy – or monogamous marriage – was originally a Roman/pagan ideal and was considered gender-neutral. Does that mean promiscuity is detestable? Not necessarily, but it is less healthy in the long run. I say this as a gay man who is in a monogamous relationship with another gay man.

I guess with some homophobes, all you have to do is convince them they can still stigmatize sexuality and they'll give up their selective stigmatization of homosexuality!
posted by layceepee at 5:44 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been reading the retractions. This, to me, is much more impressive than reversing his position (which I suppose would involve full, personal acceptance of homosexuality). Plenty of people manage those kind of reversals.

But this is a rejection of hurtful, misleading rhetoric, in an effort to treat other people with the respect they deserve. How often do you see that?
posted by nathan v at 5:46 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank you, hippybear, for posting a link to the blog post that had such an effect on him. I devoured it, searching for clues on how to change people's minds, but I didn't find any points I hadn't heard stated more eloquently and in greater depth elsewhere. No sign as to why this post in particular impacted him more than any other, no neat little formula I can use when I'm trying to change people's minds on this or other issue. Except maybe that it was directed specifically to him. (Did he have a Google Alert on his name?) I guess the answer is to just keep making the same points again and again and hope that you happened to catch someone out there who was in the right place at the right time to listen.

Or just address every article you write to some hatemonger in particular. That might work too.
posted by Anyamatopoeia at 5:48 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why Othering damages everyone.

I'm a little choked up, now -- it's remarkable to watch this kind of progression, especially when someone is willing to write so openly and honestly about how it happened. I went through a similar (though longer and a bit more sweeping) journey in my own life, and it too was sparked by learning to see The Other as someone just like me.

Wow.
posted by verb at 6:24 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


As far as I can tell, asking "So what if it's a mental disorder?" doesn't actually say that homosexuality is a mental disorder, merely that it's an irrelevant question.

The distinction would be clearer in the subjunctive: "What if it were a mental disorder?"--but a lot of people never use the subjunctive.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:24 PM on April 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


In a time when so many end up focusing outwardly on them, they and those people, it's nice to hear someone taking accountability and speaking so directly of I, me and myself.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 6:34 PM on April 8, 2011


This is really fantastic. He's clearly examined every bit of his campaign and been big enough to say that it was not only a waste of his time, he was actively hurting people, and that he's sorry for that and he's going to stop. He could have just faded out from NOM, but he's chosen to publicly state that he was wrong so it's on record.

He still has some wacky ideas about sexuality, but since he's capable of such a turnaround already, I'm sure he'll continue to progress. This won't be the end of the matter for him. But even if it is, acknowledging that personal opinions shouldn't be enshrined in law is pretty damn good.

I'm sure this was very difficult for him - it would have meant pissing off everyone he knew, and that's not something most people are willing to take on. With any luck, some of the people involved with NOM but were maybe wondering if it was all a bit much will see what he's doing, and stop participating in the group.
posted by harriet vane at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bully for him. Now, if only he could get NOM to redo that horrid "Gathering Storm" commercial with blue skies and a big inclusive picnic on the horizon.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2011


Wow, just... wow. The next time someone trots out the tired old "people don't change" line, this will be Exhibition A to the contrary.
posted by scody at 7:03 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The next time someone trots out the tired old "people don't change" line

Sure, buddy, If anyone on this forum hints that people in the "gay lifestyle" can change to heterosexuality, there will fire and blood in the comments that follow.

BTW, I don't care or know about this Louis Marinell is -- and petty stuff like this makes me wish this site had a bury button.
posted by Yakuman at 7:18 PM on April 8, 2011


Oh yakuman, you're such a gadfly!
posted by dersins at 7:20 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yakuman: are you hinting that you think this discussion about people being able to change their personal attitudes toward disenfranchised minority groups should swing around to talking about gay-to-straight conversion? And hinting that you believe that is not only possible but the correct way to deal with homosexuals?

Because if that's NOT what you're saying, I'm a bit at a loss to understand your words.
posted by hippybear at 7:24 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sure, buddy, If anyone on this forum hints that people in the "gay lifestyle" can change to heterosexuality, there will fire and blood in the comments that follow.

Not so much fire and blood as hilarity and contempt, I think.
posted by EarBucket at 7:30 PM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, okay, then, let me be SUPER-DUPER LITERAL: The next time someone trots out the tired old "people don't have the capacity to change their minds as a result of political or personal engagement" line in an attempt to denigrate efforts at progressive social or political change or reform, this will be Exhibition A to the contrary.

I even include you in that category as someone capable of changing their mind, "buddy." And that's a compliment, though you might not realize or believe it.
posted by scody at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not just a matter of distinguishing between civil and religious marriage. There are lots of religious groups like the Metropolitan churches and the United church of Canada who support gay marriage and want the right to celebrate same-sex marriages for their members. It's an issue of freedom of religion as well of rights - rights for the couples the same as hetero couples, freedom for churches who want to support and celebrate same-sex marriage.
posted by jb at 8:36 PM on April 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jeff Angelo (I commented about him previously), a former GOP state senator in Iowa (one who sponsored the state's DOMA clone) is now out trying to convince conservatives that same-sex couples should have the right to marry.

There are many young (and old, I'm sure) Republicans, both staff and politicians, who have already come around to marriage equality on their own or among friends, but who remain closeted to the public. We need a national coming-out day for these people.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:46 PM on April 8, 2011


Sure, buddy,

You know what a buddy is? It's a guy who goes to town and gets two blowjobs, and comes back with one for you. At least, that's what my platoon sergeant told me.

If anyone on this forum hints that people in the "gay lifestyle" can change to heterosexuality, there will fire and blood in the comments that follow.

Maybe it's not a good idea to make a straight-line comparison between who you want to fuck and what opinions you hold. I might be able to sway your opinion with reasoned argument. Do you think you can likewise be convinced to start having sex with other guys? (I'm assuming you're a guy.) That would sure be one hell of an argument I guess.

BTW, I don't care or know about this Louis Marinell is

Why bother commenting then?

-- and petty stuff like this makes me wish this site had a bury button.

It does - it's the little red X in the upper right corner of your browser. I'm assuming you're a Windows user, because if you started using a Mac ...
posted by me & my monkey at 9:13 PM on April 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


petty stuff like this makes me wish this site had a bury button.

Well we're even then, 'cause I feel exactly the same way about your bilious prattle.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:13 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Huh. This is not the sort of thing I expected to see, well, ever, even though I really do think that confronting the contradictions in one's worldview actually does motivate changing one's mind about important issues. I'd love (well, demand) to see more movement in favor of autonomy and less "gays are okay because they're like me" but god damn. I'm still impressed.
posted by Marty Marx at 10:51 PM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


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.


This is how we win it. It is easy to be against a abstract, distant queers. But once you know them and they are no longer the monsters bigots portray them. This guy, having met hundreds of queer people at protests began to have empathy for them.

According to some research I read 70% of surveyed people know someone who is LGB. Other recent polling shows that a little over 50% of Americans support marriage equality. This means that each queer person and each straight ally needs to have the conversation with their friends and family.

That is how to win this. Well, that and let older voters die or the South secede.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:03 PM on April 8, 2011


"Do you think you can likewise be convinced to start having sex with other guys? (I'm assuming you're a guy.) That would sure be one hell of an argument I guess."

"It's like Pascal's Wager. You have nothing to lose by believing you're bi."
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 AM on April 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Except your virginity.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 AM on April 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you...

And then you win.
posted by nickrussell at 5:28 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Christians and Catholics alike are well within their right to demand that holy matrimony, a sacrament and service performed by the Church and recognized by the Church, remains between a man and a woman as their faith would dictate.

BTW -- when it comes to Catholics a majority now support gay marriage or civil unions, as do Americans overall.

ABC News/Washington Post poll: Gay Marriage [PDF] | March 18, 2011
"A poll and a comprehensive study released last week reveal that for the first time, a majority of Americans support marriage equality and other benefits for same-sex couples.

The poll, conducted for ABC News and The Washington Post, indicates that 53 percent of Americans support marriage equality for same-sex couples, a 21 percent increase from 2004.

The biggest increases are among Christians, who saw gains among white and Hispanic Catholic Americans and white nonevangelical Protestants. While support from evangelical Protestants increased, especially among younger members, they still overwhelmingly oppose marriage equality and other benefits for same-sex couples.

'This is very consistent with a lot of other polling data we've seen and the general momentum we've seen over the past year and a half,' Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, a leading pro-gay-marriage group, said to The Washington Post of the poll."
And in another new report ...

Catholics More Supportive Of Gay And Lesbian Rights Than General Public, Other Christians | March 22, 2011
"Catholics are more supportive of gay and lesbian rights than the general public and other Christians, according to a new report released today. The new report, which is the most comprehensive portrait of Catholic attitudes on gay and lesbian issues assembled to date, also finds that seven-in-ten Catholics say that messages from America's places of worship contribute a lot (33 percent) or a little (37 percent) to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth. ...

Nearly three-quarters of Catholics favor either allowing gay and lesbian people to marry (43%) or allowing them to form civil unions (31%). Only 22% of Catholics say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace; 63% of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military; and 6-in-10 (60%) Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

Less than 4-in-10 Catholics give their own church top marks (a grade of an A or a B) on its handing of the issue of homosexuality; majorities of members of most other religious groups give their churches high marks.

A majority of Catholics (56%) believe that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is not a sin."
So, American Catholics, please note that when your Church leadership speaks out to oppose marriage equality and same-sex unions, they aren't speaking for the majority of you.
posted by ericb at 7:23 AM on April 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Last summer NOM Exposed (previously) was formed ...
... "[building] off the success of Courage Campaign’s NOM Tour Tracker – a blog of first-hand accounts, photos and videos chronicling NOM’s ‘2010 Summer for Marriage—One Man, One Woman’ bus tour of 17 states. The Courage Campaign deployed three staffers to follow NOM’s tour and file reports from the road, generating more than one-million page views and more than 15,000 comments. During the course of the tour, federal courts declared two of NOM’s top policy priorities – California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act – unconstitutional.

The NOM Tour Tracker showed NOM’s summer tour consistently outnumbered three-to-one by pro-equality counter rally participants organized by Freedom to Marry and state LGBT organizations. It also showed NOM staff attempting to limit public access to their events and NOM’s sparse supporters doing everything from speaking in tongues, to comparing marriage equality to genocide and advocating the murder of LGBT families.

‘The NOM Tour Tracker unmasked the so-called 'National Organization for Marriage' as a small and secretive fringe group devoted to attacking families, spreading lies, and sowing fear,’ said Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs. ‘With a majority of Americans and a growing number of conservatives now standing up for equality, NOM Exposed takes this important work a step further by bringing to light the nefarious connections, shadowy finances, and dubious ethics at the heart of NOM’s brand of political extremism. We are proud to work with the Human Rights Campaign on this important initiative.’

NOM Exposed, the result of several months of research and collaboration, reveals the following:
* At a time of the country's greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, NOM's financial growth has been explosive. NOM has amassed huge resources – estimated to reach or exceed $10M in 2010 – from modest beginnings in 2007.

* NOM is a highly secretive organization that tries to not only hide the identity of its political donors from the voting public in state after state, but operates in a way to discourage people from knowing who its key players and associates are.

* NOM has deep connections to the Catholic Church hierarchy, to the Mormon Church, to evangelical right-wing pastors and churches and to those who have a long history of anti-gay rhetoric and activity. These are individuals and organizations which not only oppose same-sex marriage, but oppose domestic partnerships, civil unions, hate crimes protections and even fertility treatments for women because some of those women could be lesbians.

* Since 2008, NOM and its allies have engaged in a radical, nationwide plan to flout long-established campaign finance disclosure laws. This is nothing short of a strategic, coordinated plan to hide NOM's political activities from voters. This effort has prompted several state investigations and resounding legal defeats for NOM.”
posted by ericb at 7:35 AM on April 9, 2011


Oops ... cite for above.
posted by ericb at 7:36 AM on April 9, 2011


Not just a decision, a follow-through
"Many today had expressed whether Louis’ decision to support civil marriage equality, and other intentions, were authentic.

Exhibit A: This morning, NOM’s Facebook page had 291,000 fans on its Facebook page which Louis helped put together and administer. After Louis was done, here’s what it looks like now.

[Now only] 149[fans]. Oops.

Louis also went on Sirius/XM radio to talk with Mike Signorile about the circumstances that led to his decision. Jeremy has the audio.

Not 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 Louis."
posted by ericb at 7:51 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is good news. This made my day. Thanks for posting this. My favorite was the last line of his essay about his change of mind: "The constitution demands nothing less." Yep. Because the most regressive interpretation of the Bible is not the law of the land, and the constitution is.

Hi, Louis. Welcome to the right side of history. We're happy to have you.

My take on same sex marriage was teased out when I was 12, about 20 years ago. I had learned about people who are intersex. They are the way God made them, right? So who do they get to marry? Nobody? Only other intersex people? If so, is that being gay? Seems stupid to punish people for something they were born with. From there, it was just a hop, skip and jump to fully embracing same sex marriage. (I was never freaked out by gay people- I have a bunch of openly gay relatives, especially on my dad's side, and my baby sitter was a gay teenage boy. It was never a thing for me to get over.)

Now, my take is more nuanced, but only slightly. I agree with Louis that civil marriage and religious marriage are different. I would be okay with abolishing civil marriage altogether, and replacing it with some sort of voluntary, reciprocal, legally binding kinship arrangement, limited to two people, where no sexual relationship was implied. So you could "kin" your best friend or your sister, and that is the person who would make medical decisions for you, and get your pension checks and estate after your death. Like divorce, if you wanted to end your kinship, you'd file the paperwork and then be free to be "unkinned" or to "kin" someone else. At that point, marriage to could go back to being what it has been throughout most of history- a social and religious matter, not a legal one.

Regardless, the constitution demands full marriage equality. It's nice to see people coming around.
posted by Leta at 9:29 AM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


who have already come around to marriage equality on their own or among friends, but who remain closeted to the public. We need a national coming-out day for these people.

I think we need a national coming-out day for everyone. I suspect our fellow citizens are more compassionate and less interested in controlling others' behaviors than our laws and politicians.

Push comes to shove, my bet is that by far the majority of people don't care who gets married to who, wouldn't personally deny anyone comprehensive healthcare, and would distribute the national wealth equitably.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:05 AM on April 9, 2011


Well, sure, but to support marriage equality I'd have to, like, get angry about stuff, and get out of the house to vote... what a pain.
posted by LogicalDash at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2011


Good. Better for than against. One enemy less. And so on. This is a positive, not a negative - pretty damn obvious.

I applaud. However, I remain puzzled - that's a nice way of putting it. Call me stupid, fine. But I don't understand. I just don't.

Here:

"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."

Now, there are saps out there who are so ill-informed that they conflate religious and civil marriage. We've all seen them. They are the demographic being preached to by merchants of hate and the opportunists who make careers, political and commercial from this. But these are marks. Just like P.T. Barnum said.

What doesn't smell right to me: this guy, Marinelli, is not just a random un-informed sap. He's not on the other side of the rope, where the marks are, he's on the side that makes money/a career out of catering to the saps, he's on the side of the rope with the P.T. Barnums and others who make a living from this. A person like this is different from the marks in one fundamental respect - being a homophobe is just a small slice out of the life of the mark, so it's not surprising that the mark is ill-informed... s/he does not have the opportunity to be exposed to different points of view, since the whole thing is such a small part of his/her life; but the P.T. Barnums, the Marinellis, well, they make their living from it, so their entire life is this, they've seen it from the other side of the rope, they've seen the act of the magician from the backstage and they know the tricks. The Marinellis have been exposed to counter-arguments, by the bucketload, because that's what they make their living from.

And now, suddenly, we're supposed to believe that what convinced Marinelli, was really counterarguments 101 - as if he's some naif who fell off the turnip truck, rather than someone who spent years and built a career out of this shtick. Really?

I read all those statements of reversal he made and the reasons for them, and at first I'm flabbergasted. I can't wrap my head around it. It's like someone admits that the earth is round, and not flat. I agree with him, and I buy that he thought the earth was flat... if he were a simple hunter from an isolated tribe in the Amazon. But then I hear that he made his living by being in constant contact with astronomy and astronomers. Now, I can understand that such a person is confused by some abstruse detail of the general relativity theory. But he's confused as to whether the earth is flat? And all it took is a simple argument to convince him, an argument we're all exposed to as six-year-olds?

Call me a cynic. Call me an idiot. Call me ungenerous. Call me small-hearted and small-minded. But this smells not quite right. Something is off.

Now, I'm not going to be hostile. I welcome him aboard. I'm glad he put down his weapon. But I'll never turn my back to him, and my sword will be always within my reach when he comes around.
posted by VikingSword at 11:49 AM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Except your virginity."

Good men giving for their country, I suppose.
posted by klangklangston at 1:08 PM on April 9, 2011


" (I was never freaked out by gay people- I have a bunch of openly gay relatives, especially on my dad's side, and my baby sitter was a gay teenage boy. It was never a thing for me to get over.)"

Exposure is the number one most important predictor to whether or not you support same-sex marriage, as far as I remember.

It's something that I saw again and again when I was canvassing, and one of those things that made it kind of weird when people assume that I was gay. On the one hand, if people could see that I was nice and respectful but had the facts to back me up and they associate me with gay people, well, good — civil rights are universal and if I was the face they thought of when they were supporting gay rights, that's fine. On the other hand, I never wanted to misrepresent that I'm straight, never wanted to get people involved under false pretenses, and straight privilege is also a pretty strong rhetorical weapon (if everything I do is normative, supporting equal rights is normative).

Unfortunately, that's why media representations are important, especially with LGBT — there's no real way to know whether someone around you is gay or not unless they choose to display it, so media representations are the primary way that a lot of Americans interact with gay identity, and I feel like everyone's done a tremendous disservice by Will and Grace sort of shit.
posted by klangklangston at 1:26 PM on April 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you haven't listened to the "the audio" link provided above by ericb, you really should. It's a really good conversation, and may provide better context and some answers to questions and doubts expressed in this thread. The introduction is 10 minutes, the interview is 20 minutes.
posted by hippybear at 2:44 PM on April 9, 2011


I feel like everyone's done a tremendous disservice by Will and Grace sort of shit.

QFMFT
posted by hippybear at 2:45 PM on April 9, 2011


I hear you, VikingSword, but even those who are not rubes will only hear what they want to hear, and I think this guy was in that camp.
posted by rtha at 4:08 PM on April 9, 2011


VikingSword - I kind of felt the same way. I am somewhat nonplussed at the notion that all those years of bigotry and hatred - the sort that the people who espouse it tend to view not as opinions or ideas but "core values" - could apparently be overturned by an "argument" that was, in my opinion, basically pretty mundane.

Don't get me wrong - if this really is what it appears to be, then it's marvelous. Wonderful. Almost ... miraculous.

I think there's more to this than meets the eye.
posted by kcds at 4:16 PM on April 9, 2011


Call me small-hearted and small-minded. But this smells not quite right. Something is off.

What do you suspect?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 4:38 PM on April 9, 2011


I am somewhat nonplussed at the notion that all those years of bigotry and hatred - the sort that the people who espouse it tend to view not as opinions or ideas but "core values" - could apparently be overturned by an "argument" that was, in my opinion, basically pretty mundane.

In the interview which I mention above, he goes into detail about what changed his mind. The explanation of that one blog post being the tipping point seems to be pretty much that. Before that, he was on that NOM bus tour, and in the interview he talks about how he was, for the first time, meeting gay and lesbian people in great numbers as they showed up to the NOM events to protest. And that it was his experience of seeing and meeting them which put him on the path of change.

Plus... I mean, the guy is only 24. It's not like he's lived "all those years of bigotry and hatred".
posted by hippybear at 5:26 PM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Louis' current twitter account has a lot going on... Including these gems.
posted by hippybear at 9:03 PM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mr. Obama: I've come out for marriage equality and I'm a conservative Republican. Now, it's your turn. #DOMA #LGBT #SSM
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:27 PM on April 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


I myself wasn't convinced to support gay marriage by a simple argument - it was the repetition of all the arguments over time. I was having to re-think many things I believed, and it happened in small chunks. I conceded various points while still maintaining my anti- position, until the day it all came together. Like a jigsaw without all the pieces in yet, but where I could recognise what the picture would eventually look like.

And it took lots of people repeating the arguments, sometimes to me, sometimes to someone else online while I lurked, before I was able to comprehend the whole thing.

Which is why I believe his story: first he had to acknowledge LGBTs as actual people, then he had discussions with them, etc. The blog post that he says was the final step to convince him covers a wide range of points. I'm guessing it was the first time after he'd started to change his mind that he saw all his previously conceded points all lined up in a row, and was forced to admit he'd changed his mind on so many small elements that he couldn't pretend he was anti- anymore. It could have been any blog post, or any conversation - just whichever one he saw first after being convinced of smaller points separately.
posted by harriet vane at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interview with Louis Marinelli.
posted by ericb at 12:05 PM on April 10, 2011


Louis Marinelli blog post today (excerpt): The illusion that makes up NOM’s base of support
" ..This is where I came into the picture over the past six months or so. It was clear that NOM needed a plan to activate what supporters they had, to mobilize them to respond to events to create a grassroots-like illusion of support.

Of course, illusion is my word but is an accurate usage of the word considering the objective. NOM in no way ever ordered me to create an illusion.

I am sharing this with you because I want you to realize that NOM is a small group of devoutly religious Catholics supported by a couple of undisclosed sources. NOM is essentially made up of Brian Brown, its President, Maggie Gallagher, the CEO, a handful of other Board members (who are scattered across the country involved in other matters), a couple of advisors to Mr. Brown and a small and largely incompetent office staff.

Their social media management isn’t operated by NOM – they’re not big enough for that nor do they understand social media! As Jeremy Hooper detailed, Opus Fidelis manages NOM’s social media and websites.

That is all that is standing between you and the freedom to marry. There is no grassroots opposition. While they have proven to be quite successful over the past couple years, I think it’s time to put NOM’s size into perspective. Are you going to let a handful of fringe Catholics (with whom many Catholics disagree on marriage) stand between you and the freedom to marry?"
posted by ericb at 4:25 PM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I seriously doubt there isn't some serious Mormon and Protestant funding too, but I'm with him for the most part there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:34 PM on April 11, 2011


At that point, between what I had witnessed on the marriage tour and RJ’s post about marriage equality, I really came to understand that gays and lesbians were just real people who wanted to live real lives and be treated equally as opposed to, for example, wanting to destroy American culture. No, they didn’t want to destroy American culture, they wanted to openly particulate in it.
Interestingly enough, I didn't actually realize that the people (or at least some of the people) against same-sex marriage actually believe that there is a homosexual agenda that's bent on destroying America. I always thought those ideas were just hyperbole.
posted by kdar at 10:02 PM on April 11, 2011


I seriously doubt there isn't some serious Mormon and Protestant funding too ...

Oh, boy. That's the real source of the money.

I suggest watching the documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition, now on DVD (trailer). It shows how the LDS worked hard to 'keep in the background' and basically 'buy' allies, especially the Catholic Church, funneling money to them to finance media campaigns, etc. The Mormons were also behind the formation and funding of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

New York Times:
"The film dives angrily into the fray. It uncovers the classified church documents and the largely concealed money trail of Mormon contributions that paid for a high-powered campaign to pass Proposition 8. The Mormon involvement, the film persuasively argues, tilted the vote toward passage, by 52 percent to 48 percent, in its final weeks.

That involvement was concealed under the facade of a coalition with Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians called the National Organization for Marriage. Mormons raised an estimated $22 million for the cause. In the final week of the campaign, the film says, $3 million came from Utah. The money financed a sophisticated media barrage that involved blogs, Twitter and YouTube videos, as well as scary (and, according to the movie, misleading) television ads, and an aggressive door-to-door campaign whose foot soldiers were instructed on how not to appear Mormon."
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on April 12, 2011


Follow The Money:
"First Year: NOM Raises Half A Million To Target State Legislators In Two States

In its first year, NOM’s budget was just over $500,000 and the campaigns it ran were local and comparatively small.

Two years later: NOM raises $8 million to target 11 states and Washington DC at various levels, and brags of its ability to come up with $600,000 in a few days.

From its modest beginning, NOM claims it spent $8 million in 2009 and plans to raise $10 million for 2010. Former NOM president Maggie Gallagher even bragged of raising $600,000 in just a few days to pay for ads and automated calls to prompt “grassroots activities.”

Of NOM’s $2.5 million budget increase from 2007 to 2008, nearly $2.2 million came from 52 large donations of $5,000 or more from anti-gay organizations. On average, these donations were valued at more than $40,000 apiece, with one source alone giving $450,000, according to NOM’s tax filing. In a sworn statement filed in Iowa by NOM, then-executive director Brian Brown admitted, “NOM solicits and receives most of its funds as undesignated donations from major donors and national organizations.”

NOM aggressively works (and litigates) to keep its donors private. However, there are several anti-gay organizations that have both ties to NOM and the fat wallets to fund their expanding mission.

NOM Closely Aligned With Mormon Church In California And Through Board Members

NOM’s mission and organizational secrecy fits with a pattern of behavior by the Mormon Church, which has been trying to influence policy related to same-sex marriage since the mid-90s while keeping its name not only out of headlines, but entirely out of campaign finance reports. Additionally, one of NOM’s founding board members has close ties to the Mormon Church’s leadership and was replaced by well-known Mormon writer and anti-equality columnist Orson Scott Card. Maggie Gallagher also sits on the board of the Marriage Law Foundation, which is Mormon-founded and Utah-based. And one of the academic advisors to the Ruth Institute (now a NOM project) has been deeply involved with the Church’s opposition strategy to same-sex marriage from its earliest days.

NOM’s Largest Known Donation Is From A Catholic Group, And Has Ties To Powerful And Secretive Opus Dei

Another cornerstone of NOM’s emergence is the Catholic Church. The three main founders of NOM – Brian Brown, Maggie Gallagher, and Robert George – are all Roman Catholic, and have been comparatively open about the fact that the group is backed by “well-off Catholic individuals.” A September 2010 Washington Independent article identified the largest known donation to NOM as a $1.4 million bundle from the Catholic fraternal organizations Knights of Columbus in 2009. The prior year, the Knights gave $500,000 to NOM. Another board member, Luis Tellez, is a high-ranking official in the American branch of the ultra-conservative and secretive Catholic anti-gay organization Opus Dei.

NOM Received Funding From Right-Wing Evangelical Groups And The Bradley Foundation

NOM has acknowledged that it has received funding from evangelical right-wing anti-gay organizations Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. NOM board chairman emeritus Robert George, who served on FRC’s board, also has ties to groups like the Bradley Foundation. Moreover, NOM has connections to the Arlington Group, a collection of 75 religious right groups that poured $2 million into passing gay marriage bans in states during the 2004 presidential election.

NOM Expenditures By Year

NOM’s expenditures have increased by $7.5 million over three years."
posted by ericb at 9:22 AM on April 12, 2011


Louis Marinelli: NOM is developing a secret online propaganda team.
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on April 14, 2011


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