Monday, April 11, 2011

Defector: There Is No Grassroots Opposition to Marriage Equality

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is sort of the nut de la nut of anti-gay hysteria. Their mission is to define marriage as something only heterosexual people can have, and they will go to any lengths to make sure gay people can't marry. Their history reads like a kind of a series of failures, they went on the road and drew low-double-digit crowds (of supporters, opponents turned out in droves) in most places. It is a group that seems to have no support, but they keep coming up with funding, and they keep getting their mugs on TV and in the papers.

In our little suburban Maryland county, the anti-gay, anti-transgender Citizens for Responsible Government sent out emails earlier this year linking to the domain. CRG president Ruth Jacobs called it "our new Maryland for Marriage website." This domain was shown to be registered to The National Organization for Marriage.

Thick as thieves, they are.

One of NOM's top people defected last week, and has given some useful insights into the organization. Louis Marinelli was NOM's tour organizer, Facebook page founder and blogger, and now says he supports marriage equality.

Good As You has a summary of Marinelli's career and role in NOM, and an email interview with him. Marinelli has not become "pro-gay" by any means, but he admits he was wrong about a lot of things, he sees bigots such as Paul Cameron and Peter LaBarbera in a clearer light, and he is coming around to a view that even if you don't "agree with" homosexuality, it is not right to deny people the ability to marry someone they love:
On multiple occasions I have said something to the effect of “homosexuality is wrong”. And in my opinion it is. My transition from an opponent of same-sex marriage to a supporter does not mean I suddenly think homosexuality is a good thing.

I personally disagree with it. The same way I disagree with many other things other people do with their lives. That doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to prevent homosexuals from being homosexuals or to take away their constitutionally protected civil rights as American citizens.

The guy's eyes are opening. You don't have to like everything other people do, but sometimes it's just none of your business..

Marinelli wrote on his blog over the weekend about NOM and what a sham it is. Let me quote a few bits from there.
Last week, I resigned from the National Organization and publicly declared my support for same-sex civil marriage. I also apologized and recanted the offensive and hurtful comments I’ve ever made against gay and lesbian citizens in this country. For many my actions have been a source of hope for the future of marriage equality. I wanted to take this opportunity to reinforce that hope.

Tax records show that the vast majority of the National Organization for Marriage’s financial support comes from a handful of donors. This information is public and the Human Rights Campaign exposed it quite a while ago.

In my work with the National Organization for Marriage, I, like you have seen on multiple occasions how fundraisers, which are matched dollar for dollar by an undisclosed source pulling the strings from behind the shadows, have met their goals. I shared the suspicion many did when gaps of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations were suddenly closed in the final hours running up to the deadline.

I can’t explain these fundraising miracles, only NOM’s inner circle could. The illusion that makes up NOM’s base of support

The picture he paints is of a very small core group backed by shadowy fat-cat donors.
The summer tour rallies were met with counter-protesters at every stop and with the exception of a couple of instances, NOM’s supporters were greatly outnumbered and their enthusiasm was bested by the gays and lesbians who came out to meet us in the streets to stand up against injustice and intolerance. Completely understandable. The lives of gay and lesbian Americans were on the line, they were being oppressed by a group seeking for force its religious doctrine on our society. If they weren’t fired up about that, what would that say about them?

That same enthusiasm gap, support gap, involvement gap, call it what you want, exists for NOM in the online world as much as it does in the real world. 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.

We have seen this in our county. Our school district was beseiged by a tiny cell of extremists who were able to get in front of TV cameras and talk to reporters to create the illusion that they represented the views of a large number of people. But they never did. This is Montgomery County, Maryland, possibly the bluest county in the United States, of course we've got our weirdos but most of the people who live here are tolerant, objective, and respectful.

In the same way, NOM showed up everywhere, the same two or three people speaking up on television, writing letters to the editor, tweeting and blogging and social networking to create the illusion that there were a lot of them.
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, it’s 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?

It's fascinating to get reports from the soft underbelly of an organization like NOM, and I hope Marinelli will continue to explain some of the otherwise inexplicable things that that group has done.

He doesn't seem to have any idea where the money comes from, but there's a lot of it. Wouldn't you like to know?

And I think it is worth pointing out the value of Marinelli's new perspective. He does not approve of homosexuality, he still seems to believe a lot of the stereotypes. But he has turned a crucial corner, he now realizes it's not his place to tell other people how to live. Sometimes that's the best you can hope for. An ordinary person can't be expected to learn about the special issues involving each subpopulation in their society, it's just too much. But at some point you have to trust that other people can be responsible and good, even if you don't understand them, even if they are doing something that you yourself can't imagine doing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"realizes it's not his place to tell other people how to live"

I believe that too, as do most of the other Americans who don't support a gay redefinition of marriage.

so NOM is "sort of the nut de la nut of anti-gay hysteria" because
"their mission is to define marriage as something only heterosexual people can have"?

problem is that this defines most Americans as nuts

"The picture he paints is of a very small core group backed by shadowy fat-cat donors."

if they are such a small group, why have they won every one of the several dozen statewide votes they have become involved in?

doesn't add up

especially when you read stuff like this:

"NOM is essentially made up of Brian Brown, it’s President, Maggie Gallagher, the CEO, a handful of other Board members, a couple of advisors to Mr. Brown and a small and largely incompetent office staff."

he's going after the clerical staff?

these are the people he recently worked with on a daily basis?

sounds like office politics

April 11, 2011 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm against same sex marriage and I'm not Catholic.

April 11, 2011 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm for same-sex marriage...and I'm a Christian!

April 11, 2011 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This baptized and confirmed Christian supports same sex marriage too.

April 11, 2011 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, well then I guess that makes it right.
You must belong to the "Church
Of Anything Goes".

April 11, 2011 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently you have been taught only your faith is correct and everyone else's is wrong.

That's not what my faith teaches, thank God!

April 12, 2011 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's interesting

you have a faith that teaches that it is not right?

tell us more

April 12, 2011 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." (Romans 12:4-5)

April 12, 2011 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"office" and "faith" are not synonymous, obviously

the Christian faith doesn't teach that it's wrong to think "your faith is correct and everyone else's is wrong"

it teaches that there is one faith

"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

the body is all those who believe in the Christian faith not all humanity regardless of what they believe

April 12, 2011 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your neighbor as yourself.
[Matthew 22:39]

So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.
[Matthew 7:12.]

If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.
[Matthew 19:21]

But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
[Luke 14:13 &14.]

And when thou pray, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou pray, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret…
[Matthew 6:6 & 7]

If any of you has a son or a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
[Matthew 12:11]

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. [Mark 2:27.]

If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her.
[John 8:7]

Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
[Matthew 7:1 & 2.]

April 12, 2011 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a lot of great verses

you might notice that every single one of them placed the responsibility for behavior on individuals

and the individual is responsible to God


find me an example of him trying to get the government to make the Golden Rule a law enforced by the government

if you want transgenders treated a certain way, if you are so compelled, go ahead and treat them that way

and stop trying to remove splinters from the eyes of others

there is no systemic discrimination resulting in trangenders being denied their constitutional rights in our state

April 12, 2011 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN to that!

April 12, 2011 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you like the Jesus quotes. They came from

"you might notice that every single one of them placed the responsibility for behavior on individuals"

And you might notice that He doesn't go very easy on those who choose to judge, cast stones, and fail to help a son even if it means violating a religious rule.

April 14, 2011 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And you might notice that He doesn't go very easy on those who choose to judge, cast stones, and fail to help a son even if it means violating a religious rule"

you might have noticed that no one here has advocated doing any of those three things

are you casting stones?

April 14, 2011 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think asking if someone noticed something is casting stones?

April 14, 2011 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, it could amount to that, depending on the context

I was asking your intent becuase it wasn't clear

do you think asking someone if they are casting stones is saying they are casting stones?

April 14, 2011 6:12 PM  

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