Adam Polaski

NOM Defector Louis Marinelli Quits Marriage Activism

Filed By Adam Polaski | August 29, 2011 11:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Louis J. Marinelli, marriage equality, National Organization for Marriage, NOM, NOM defector, Republican LGBT

Marinelli.jpgIt seems like Louis J. Marinelli just can't make up his mind. For about a year, he worked with the National Organization for Marriage, the group that advocates against marriage equality, by building up their social media following. Then, in April, he jumped ship, announced his support for same-sex marriage, and started speaking out in favor of marriage equality, even going so far as to plan a bus tour that would help people across the country understand why same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. He became one of the few prominent conservatives or Republicans to focus on campaigning in favor of marriage equality.

Now he's quitting marriage activism altogether. Two weeks ago, he posted on his website "A statement regarding [his] future plans," which blame critical LGBT liberals and their allies for leaving no room for conservative voices. It appears as though Marinelli has taken down his website, but the essay is cached:

Over the last few months I have been actively blogging about the issue of marriage equality and family parity and sharing my blog posts with the anti-gay social media network I created in hopes of reaching out and convincing other conservative-minded people like myself to, at the very least, drop their opposition to equality for same-sex couples.

I have since experienced the loneliness only a conservative Republican who supports marriage equality could feel advocating for an issue among an advocacy full of liberal Democrats. On one hand these liberal Democrats say marriage equality is not a political or ideological issue and point to me as an example of that. On the other hand, these same liberal Democrats have largely been unable to put aside our ideological differences to unite on the common ground we share on gay rights. [...]

So today, one year to the day of the conclusion of the summer marriage bus tour I organized with the National Organization for Marriage and two weeks before my new life kicks off, I am declaring my intention and desire to live a quiet and peaceful and private life pursuing personal interests in the sphere of geology, among others. I have no desire to be an activist for any issue whether it be marriage equality, which I support and will continue to support, or whether it be to protect the innocent life of an unborn child from the irresponsible 'choice' of its mother.

I have a strong distaste for the political process and politics as a whole in the country and therefore have no desire to continue to take part in that process and even though I will continue to give my two cents and likely even a couple of copecks more on current events as they develop, that shall be the extent of my involvement.

He's also tweeted blame at liberals for pushing him out, writing:

I support marriage equality as a constitutional principle but there is no place for me standing among crazy, whiny liberals.

Earlier this month, Marinelli attempted to plan a "Marriage Equality Bus Tour" to heighten awareness of gay issues and the importance of marriage equality in states across the country. Soon after, the Human Rights Campaign announced their own "On the Road to Equality" tour, which has the same mission but with more financial backing. Marinelli cried foul, claiming that the HRC co-opted his idea. Few people paid attention to his dispute, and in the past few weeks Marinelli has quietly canceled his bus tour.

Marinelli's decision to stop campaigning for marriage equality will not kill the marriage equality movement. But his choice raises an interesting question: Is there room for conservative or Republican voices in the LGBT movement? And if there is, are those voices willing to pressure the politicians that support their party (especially when nearly all of the Republican presidential candidates wield across-the-board opposition to LGBT equality)?

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It's hard to say anything about this with some details about how he was supposedly mistreated.

What he posted didn't strike me as particularly conservative in of itself. He mostly exposed NOM's inner workings, but didn't make distinct arguments from a conservative perspective

No big surprise. The guy was an out and proud hardcore Conservative who happened to stop drinking NOM's kool-aid enough to realize that he couldn't support something that was founded on lies. So he sought to undo the damage he did by bringing the truth of the issue to the forefront.

Him moving over to pro-same-sex marriage never suggested to me that he would sit will with what is essentially a Liberal cause or the multiple other Liberal attitudes associated with people who agree with same-sex marriage. He wasn't even pro-gay. He was just very Libertarian in his approach toward same-sex marriage.

Thank you for your contributions. Have a good life.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | August 29, 2011 4:03 PM

Obviously without knowing a great deal more about Marinelli, his specific "conservative" points, and all the surrounding circumstances I can't really form an opinion in this particular situation.

However,Adam, I think your concluding question/observation pretty well sums up the general situation. The "LGBT movement", however defined, needs to come to grips with what it is about the nature of our particular struggles that mandates allegience with progressive/liberal causes and viewpoints, and which ones don't require a kind of "knee jerk" rejection of anything remotely termed "conservative", "Republican", "Libertarian". Just as we decry broad brush stereotyping of the LGBR community, we can't fall into the same judgemental category ourselves without some careful analysis of each differenty type of circumstance. However, I do expect that those who come over to our side show at least some reasonable willingness to stand up and be counted in denouncing and not excusing what nobody would dispute are bigoted and hurtful things done under the name of "conservative", "GOP", etc.

Is there room for conservative or Republican voices in the LGBT movement?

There is plenty of room for those who are fiscally conservative but support equal rights for all; there is no room for social conservatives, whose beliefs are fundamentally incompatible with equality. And, of course, the Republican Party is almost totally dominated by social conservatives at this time.

And if there is, are those voices willing to pressure the politicians that support their party (especially when nearly all of the Republican presidential candidates wield across-the-board opposition to LGBT equality)?

Most of those who claim to be "economically conservative but socially moderate/liberal" have repeatedly demonstrated that they are willing to vote for aggressively bigoted social conservative candidates because they consider the economy more important than civil rights. That needs to change.

Unfortunately, I had never heard of him. I should read the news more often.

My first impressions are:

I admire his courage in changing his position publicly, and making a genuine effort to stand with us. I'm sure it would have been far easier to let pride get in the way of principle, rather than vice versa.

With even the gay conservative and liberal worlds being so different (and each a little unrealistic in its own way), it's hard to imagine working together would go smoothly.

I hope people don't forget that it was the Log Cabin Republicans' lawsuit that brought an end to DADT, and that Republicans played a critical role in achieving same sex marriage in New York. I think LGBT Republicans remind heterosexuals of our humanity--because they can see that we come in all the same cultural and political flavors they do, some of which they can identify with. That makes it easier for them to see our issues as human rights issues, rather than the political positions of a single party.

This man seems to be our friend, and he seems to have given up quite a bit to stand with us on principle. I hope there's a way for us to show him our gratitude and love, even advocating together didn't work out.

*even if advocating together didn't work out.

I find you end your commentary on an odd note though. "Are they willing to pressure their leaders?"

By speaking out they are pressuring. But within the Con/GOP coalition they are outliers and minorities. If they fail to effect change, are they not trying hard enough, smart enough? We're hardly one to throw stones as slowly as the Democrats have been to move. (The Dems helped passed DOMA & a Dem POTUS signed it, just 15 years ago. Many Senate Dems were as problematic on DADT repeal as a Republican.)

And though the left is largely united in causes like concern for global climate change, collectively bargaining rights, opposition to war, torture and unwarranted surveillance, the reality is we've been terrible about actually moving our own leaders on these issues. Even after securing both houses of Congress and the White House, little if any change of direction was seen. Moving leaders is hard work, and rarely the product of any single activist, be it Louis Marinelli, Dan Choi or Joe Solomnese.

But their side of the aisle will move faster when people in their community work toward the same goal. I wish Louis had been met with more support and less suspicion from the LGBT community. He did seem like a wasted asset.

I observed some of the distrust and out and out hostility Louis received from our community. I can see why he's backed off. I consider it a shame to have lost him.

I completely agree that Republicans AND Democrats need to be committed to pressuring their party leaders into paying attention to issues that are important to them. But I find it troubling when gay Republicans or people who identify as allies say they support, for example, full marriage equality and then, in the same breath, they they support Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Mitt Romney. Isn't that a contradiction?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 30, 2011 11:08 AM

"But I find it troubling when gay Republicans or people who identify as allies say they support, for example, full marriage equality and then, in the same breath, they they support Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Mitt Romney. Isn't that a contradiction?"

It is indeed. And it's a contradiction when LGBT Democrats pretend to support both same sex marriage and Obama. Obama remains a pigheaded opponent of same sex marriage and support for him equals opposition to equality.

Obama has done an immense amount of good for trans people in his executive policies. In my mind, this far outweighs his lukewarm position on gay marriage and guarantees him my vote and support in the upcoming elections.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 30, 2011 3:49 PM

Obama is a bigot who pigheadedly opposes same sex marriage.

Obama condones, and likely ordered the torture of GLBT - antiwar hero Brad Manning.

Obama is responsible for policies that murder and waste the lives of tens of thousands of GI's and innocent civilians from Libya to Pakistan.

Obama is an anti-union scab who busted the UAW, signed bills that ended extended unemployment and student loan guarantees and imposed draconian austerity measures.

Obama is a disgusting and shameless lap dog of the rich, the banksters and the looter class. He took 20 million in contributions from HMOs and Big Pharma and killed single payer health care reform, replacing it with a scheme that makes HMOs and Big Pharma richer.

Obama ignores unemployment - now at 16% for over two years and affecting 25 million - while he passes out trillions to the bankers.

I can understand why you like him but those are the reasons why many scorn him and his Democrat, Teabagger and Republican allies.

A Republican is a rightwing bigot, warmonger and union buster with a christer dominationist attached at the hip. Obama is a Republican in drag.

On November 6th, 2012 vote for the left, vote against Democrats, vote socialist, vote against Republicans and Teabagger. Or simply sit it out. Our energies should be focused on building a mass movement with an open ended campaign of mass actions to compel an end to end Obama's wars, austerity, union busting and unemployment. We need to fight to our agenda a reality, not support bigots like Obama.

Tall Stacey | August 30, 2011 6:28 PM

Tell us how you really feel Bill Perdue!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 30, 2011 11:36 PM

I did Tall, I did.

Beware those who express themselves in extremes. Martinelli started out as a NOMer, which is about the most extreme one can be on the anti-marriage front. Instead of concluding that his position on marriage was wrong and slinking quietly away, he insisted on shouting it from the rooftops, going so far as to plan a bus tour. I was skeptical from the beginning, and even more so as he worked to undermine NOM by spilling their "secrets." I suspect that this guy had a falling out with NOM rather than a spontaneous conversion to the path of equality. We profited (briefly) from his animosity toward NOM rather than a dedication to human rights. Now he's doing what he probably should have done in the first place: he's going away. Go in peace.

Tall Stacey | August 30, 2011 11:12 AM

“Is there room for conservative or Republican voices in the LGBT movement?”

If there is one thing that LGBT are it is diverse, which is by and large our biggest weakness as a group. We are Lesbians and Dykes and Drag Kings and Butch and Femme and Gay and Drag Queens and Leather and Bears and Transvestites and Transgender and Transsexuals and Bisexual and Pansexual and Asexual and Queer and Questioning and …… and the fact is that the only thing we have in common, the only reason most of us associate with each other is that we share a limited acceptance in society and a denial of rights. Like lepers cast onto a colony island, we are a community only at the persecution of the masses.

Overlooking that one commonality, we are as diverse as conceivable in every other respect including politics. As has been pointed out the Log Cabins are certainly part of our number, and Republican and conservative. Is there room for them? Of course.

But I think you asked the wrong question. What there is not room for in our movement is self-aggrandizing opportunists. And that in my opinion is exactly what Marinelli is. We have no room for his kind. Like that old axiom points out, there is no I in team - nor in LGBT.

The fact is that early on as a NOM stooge he viciously and maliciously and repeatedly attacked us basically for sport. He is a homophobe of the worst kind, sharpening his skills at our expense until he made a job for himself at NOM, and a pretty cushy one at that. Wouldn’t you like to be a paid tourist with your own private tour bus?

For whatever reason he ran afoul of NOM. Perhaps the tour was not as successful as envisioned, perhaps he made a joke that Maggie didn’t like, for whatever reason I would be willing to bet that the decision to leave NOM was not his, and certainly not because he had “seen the light”! Personally I can envision a scenario where like a frustrated child he said something to the effect that “You can’t fire me, you need me! I’ll show you! I’ll go work for the opposition & you’ll be sorry! You’ll see!”

And I can also envision that he set himself a time limit of “I’ll give myself a year to make it big”. And here we are, 1 year later.

I think he came to us expecting to be made king. He did exactly what he had done to endear himself to NOM – started a little blog, pontificating his own brand of LGBT propaganda, attempting to redirect our movement to his just as he had pushed even then relatively innocuous NOM to the darkest side.

But we didn’t pick up his option. We didn’t make him our spokesperson, we didn’t back his ideas, we did not bend to his direction, we did not give him a blank check cushy make-a-good-living-without-working lifestyle – so now he has done the same to us & crossed over to “you’ll-be-sorry” land taking up with the ones most likely to do us harm.

Face it, the man is an opportunist. He is a hired gun, a mercenary, for hire to anyone that will pay him to shoot at their enemy. Currently he has hitched himself to Gov. Perry’s rising star where he can do more of what he does best, promulgate irrational fear and belligerence. It’s only a matter of time until he abandons his parasitic attachment to that cause for a better opportunity. And he morally doesn’t care who that might be or what their convictions are, he is available to the highest bidder, and he will attack his former host with all the venom and vigor he can muster just so he can say “I told you so!”

Did we as a movement miss an opportunity with him? Should we expect to be openly attacked by him? Obviously the answer to both questions is yes. Like a scorpion, he will sting us because he is a scorpion, that is what he does. We could have paid him to exploit himself for our benefit, but we didn’t. We didn’t hire the whore. That speaks to our benefit. We should all be proud that we do not allow his kind to represent us.

If there is one thing we as a community value it is integrity. Marinelli doesn’t have any! There is no room in our movement for people like that.

As he himself reportedly tweeted “...there is no place for me standing among crazy, whiny liberals.” That is the closest thing to truth the man has ever said. There is no place for him, we don’t allow his kind in our midst. Not that we are crazy, whiny or even liberal, we are just honestly in pursuit of our equality. He doesn’t understand the term “honest”.