A NOM Organizer Embraces Marriage Equality

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 11 2011 @ 12:49pm

In this highly polarized political climate, it's extremely rare to hear someone say "I was wrong." It's even rarer to hear someone say that and then actually investigate their own misconceptions or biases to understand exactly why they were wrong. And that's especially true in the mine-field of the culture wars. Hence the real power of this blog-post. Louis Marinelli was instrumental in setting up last year's National Organization for Marriage Tour of the states to defend traditional marriage and expose the alleged "homosexual agenda." But in the course of the tour, as Marinelli met and saw actual gay people, his heart and mind began to shift. The post is worth reading in full. But here's the money quote:

I came to understand the difference between civil marriage and holy marriage as in the sacrament of the Catholic Church. Let me rephrase. I understood that but either willingly chose not to accept it or just didn’t see it. Regardless, I see it now and the significance of that is as follows:

Once you understand the great difference between civil marriage and holy marriage, there is not one valid reason to forbid the former from same-sex couples, and all that is left to protect is the latter.

Indeed Christians and Catholics alike are well within their right to demand that holy matrimony, a sacrament and service performed by the Church and recognized by the Church, remains between a man and a woman as their faith would dictate. However, that has nothing to do with civil marriage, performed and recognized by the State in accordance with state law.

My name is Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican and I now support full civil marriage equality. The constitution calls for nothing less.

I have long believed that when principled conservatives grasp the reality of gay people, and engage them, they will become among the most vociferous supporters of marriage equality. Because conservatism, in its best sense, is not about bigotry; it's about reality, and the best ways we can support responsibility, family and inclusion within a political structure of limited government.

Marriage equality does all those things, costs nothing, and helps millions. It is an accessory to limited government, not an attack on it. It's pro-family and anti-balkanization. It's one of those moments when a minority seeks conservative values to achieve dignity and respect.

It's only fear and fundamentalism that stand in the way. And it's reality and faith that will ultimately bring the wall of government discrimination crashing down.