HRC Blog

Top NOM Official Defects, Takes 290K Facebook Fans With Him

Louis Marinelli, a key strategist for the National Organization for Marriage, has undergone what he calls a “transition” from being an ardent opponent of the LGBT community and marriage equality specifically to supporting civil marriage between LGBT couples. Jeremy Hooper of Good As You broke the story earlier today.

Marinelli oversaw NOM’s online social media properties and actually drove the bus during NOM’s Summer 2010 bus tour. It was that tour, he tells Hooper, that began making him into an equality supporter. “The lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people for me almost instantly. For the first time I had empathy for them and remember asking myself what I was doing.”

“This defection is a good example of what is and will continue to be consistent in the fight for equality,” said Kevin Nix, NOM Project Director for the Human Rights Campaign. “Once people actually meet LGBT people, they are more likely to support equality. Even NOM’s own people are having trouble with the organization’s unusual mission: to stop committed gay and lesbian couples from getting married.”

Despite its public portrayal of “tolerance”-- and despite dubious claims by Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown that they have “gay friends and family”-- NOM opposes not only marriage equality but civil unions.

With Marinelli’s departure from NOM, the anti-gay group lost 290,000 followers on Facebook. Their new page has about 50 fans. For the latest on Marinelli’s jump to the side of equality, and more on NOM’s questionable ethics, shady financial connections and discriminatory rhetoric, visit

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