Wednesday, April 13, 2011

NOM's Former Social Media Strategist: Organization's Grassroots Support "An Illusion"

Louis Marinelli, the social media strategist for the National Organization for Marriage who stunned people on both sides of the marriage-rights debate when he announced he is changing sides, wrote in his blog that NOM's grassroots base is largely "an illusion" and the reality is a handful of people funded by -- and presumably directed by -- anonymous donors.

Marinelli, who organized a publicity tour for NOM this past summer, said the group encountered lackluster support which was overshadowed at most stops by pro-LGBT counterprotests.

The illusion that makes up NOM’s base of support

Two Cents and a Couple of Copecks - Louis Marinelli

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NJ Lawsuit Begs Question: Who is a Man?

A Camden County transman's lawsuit against his former employer opens up a set of new legal and ethical questions: What is the ultimate definition of male vs. female, and who gets to decide?

El’Jai Devoureau, who was born biologically female but has identified as male his whole life and is legally so on official records, was fired from his job at a drug treatment center after he refused to answer his boss's questions about whether he has had gender-reassignment surgery. The job he was doing is restricted to men only because it involves witnessing men providing urine samples for drug tests.

A Lawsuit’s Unusual Question: Who Is a Man?
New York Times

Former GOP Senator: Homophobia in Party "Disgusting"

Former senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) called out members of his party for homophobia and sexism. Speaking on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Simpson railed against rhetoric and efforts to thwart the rights of women and gay people.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bishop Christopher to UN: Decriminalize Homosexuality

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, who has sacrificed his personal livelihood and safety to speak out on behalf of LGBT Ugandans, addressed the United Nations on Friday. Among his key points was that de-criminalizing homosexuality is key the fight against HIV/AIDS. Currently 70 nations consider homosexuality a crime and seven enforce it with the death penalty. Uganda's parliament was presented last month with a bill that would have made it the eighth. Efforts by Bishop Senyonjo and others raised awareness around the world, which led to pressure on Uganda's government to table the bill. Those in favor of it also are encouraged by Western influences: evangelical ministers including Rick "The Purpose-Driven Life" Warren and Scott Lively have toured Uganda in recent years emphasizing scriptural messages that are favorites of anti-gay rhetoric.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Driving Force at NOM Has Epiphany on Civil Marriage

Louis Marinelli, who was the driver of both the "2010 Summer of Marriage Tour" RV and the National Organization for Marriage's social networking presence has told the blog Good-As-You in an exclusive interview that he has had a major epiphany on the subject of same-sex marriage and now supports civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

In addition to driving the motorhome used for the tour, Marinelli created the Twitter feed and Facebook pages which NOM eventually adopted as its own.

While he still feels that homosexuality is "wrong" and a health hazard, Marinelli now sees religious and civil marriage as two separate things and feels same-sex couples are entitled to the rights and protections afforded by a civil marriage license. While he still considers himself part of NOM, he feels the organization should focus on religious marriage.

Marinelli's views changed, ironically enough, because of the personal encounters he had with gay and lesbian people he met during the NOM tour. He started to see them as "real people" and that "instead of trying to destroy American culture, they just wanted to take part in it." He became alarmed by the hateful rhetoric his social networking efforts had attracted and has distanced himself from some of the more vocal opponents of gay rights. He came out in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal in December.

Some of his shifts are more nuanced; for instance, he still takes issue with the LGBT community "tacking onto" the black civil rights movement, saying that gay rights is not the civil rights movement, it is a civil rights movement.