You’ve probably heard about Louis Marinelli. He was on the National Organization for Marriage’s marketing team until April of this year, when he experienced a sudden and complete transformation: he awoke one morning, kicked Maggie Gallagher and her hate-filled cohorts to the curb, and stomped off with NOM’s 290,000 Facebook fans in tow.
Which is great. I mean, I love transformation stories as much as the next guy. Hell, we all do — if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have theatre or film or novels or any of the stories we love and admire. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to change, to see the error of our ways (or tumble headlong into a life of crime) is what gets us out of bed in the morning.
So I understand the LGBT community’s desire to wrap Louis into the fold. We want to believe that bigoted, religious, conservative types are capable of walking away from hate. I know people who’ve done it, and it makes me very, very happy. However…
…Marinelli has lately been causing a bit of a stink. He’s been planning a nationwide bus tour with his new group, the National Organization for Marriage Equality (clever, that), and he’s miffed that the HRC has announced that it’s running one, too. He’s implied that the HRC has timed the launch of its bus tour to sabotage his own, and he’s even hinted that the HRC has co-opted the name of his tour.
I go into this in a little more detail today at Gaywheels, one of the car blogs I write for, so I’ll avoid rehashing it here. But I will reiterate my concern about Marinelli’s intentions.
Let’s face it: siding with The Gays is in nearly everyone’s best interest these days. More and more people see homophobia as a transgression on par with racism and sexism, so coming out in favor of LGBT-equality is a great way to look good — especially for companies and individuals who’ve previously espoused different views. It’s not a bad way to build a career, either.
I’m not saying that Marinelli switched sides in service of self-promotion. However, he did launch his own website at an awfully convenient time — just a couple of weeks before his highly publicized conversion. And he had to have been planning his bus tour then, too, since those things take a lot of coordination. And Marinelli does seem to be bitching a good bit about sharing the marriage equality spotlight, which makes him seem either diva-ish or disingenuous or both.
What I am saying is that for the moment, I’m wary, and I’d suggest others tread cautiously, too.