Sunday, April 17, 2011

So, About That "Conservative" Who Just Flip-Flopped for Gay Marriage

You ever heard of Louis Marinelli? Yeah, me neither, but the former National Organization for Marriage volunteer is getting lots of coverage just the same for changing his mind and declaring that he now supports “full marriage equality” (hat tip: Daily Beast).

In his announcement, he sobs about the “shame” and “embarrassment” he feels for having “targeted, hurt and oppressed” so many people. He says he “came to understand that gays and lesbians were just real people,” and claims to have realized he was “surrounded by hateful people.” He says valid reasons to oppose same-sex marriage evaporate “once you understand the great difference between civil marriage and holy marriage,” and concludes by declaring that “the Constitution calls for nothing less” than his new position.

Marinelli has ably peppered his announcement with all the requisite left-wing talking points about gay marriage, but as serious argumentation, he falls flat. He doesn’t even begin to address the fact that preserving marriage as a man-woman union doesn't actually harm gay people, nor does he respond to the case for marriage as an essential component of a free society.

Are we seriously supposed to believe that he was passionate about the issue and worked with one of the nation’s big marriage defense groups, yet isn’t even familiar with why people oppose gay marriage? What was his own former rationale for opposing gay marriage—that he didn’t think gays were “real people”?

Marinelli’s characterization of the anti-gay-marriage movement as all about hatred and religious fundamentalism is such a pitifully generic regurgitation of the liberal playbook on marriage that it’s hard to believe his conversion is on the level. At best, Marinelli is an unremarkable guy who never really thought through his original position, and was therefore susceptible to the superficial emotionalism of the other side. At worst, he’s an opportunist selling his soul in exchange for the accolades of the in crowd. Either way, he hasn’t made a substantive, meaningful contribution to the debate, and his defection is hardly the game changer the opportunists are treating it as.

To go along with his deeply, deeply personal change of heart, ol’ Louis is also claiming that NOM is working on a “secret online propaganda team,” and that NOM’s popular support is an illusion. The former story sounds ludicrous to me, and all he offers is (ahem) his word that this is going on, and as for the latter, it’s kind of hard to suggest NOM only represents the fringe when the overwhelming majority of the states explicitly reject same-sex marriage.

Unfortunately, as near as I can tell this story is spreading like wildfire on lefty websites while conservatives are all but ignoring it. I get the temptation to dismiss Marinelli as a Frumian resercon, but I think the story’s propaganda value is more potent than that. The Left can’t be allowed to engage in these heartstring attacks without forceful responses that expose their emptiness.    

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