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.

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