This is the email I received today via Courage Campaign:
Last summer, I organized the “Summer for Marriage” Tour for NOM. For 30 days, I traveled across the nation pushing an un-American agenda that harms gays, lesbians, and their families.
I’m writing to tell you that I now regret it. Last Friday, in an interview with the Good As You blog, I renounced my past and affirmed my support for marriage equality. You know why? Because during the very summer tour that I organized, I was forced to see gays and lesbians for who they really were: real people with real lives who were hurt by the work I was doing.
I directly credit Courage Campaign members like you for playing an instrumental role in my change of heart. And that’s why I’m writing: to ask for your support to continue that work, and to make up for what I’ve done.
Can you contribute $5 right now -- $1 for each of the past 5 years I’ve spent working against equality? Courage Campaign will use the money to change more hearts and minds, as they did with mine on that summer tour.
I’m asking, Erik, because I deeply regret the work I did during the summer of 2010 and over the past 5 years as a whole. I helped curtail the rights of gays and lesbians in this country and I want to make up for all of that -- with your help.
Throughout the summer tour, Courage Campaign’s Arisha and Anthony approached me several times. I remember sitting on a bench in St. Louis, Missouri alone with Anthony for a few minutes. It was then that I empathized with Anthony and who he was for the first time, although I did not tell him. I understood that my work wasn’t affecting faceless, nameless political targets but instead good people like Anthony who just wanted to participate in all that America is.
I know firsthand that anyone can change if they could just see how their anti-equality work is affecting real people. I would like to thank you, the supporters of Courage Campaign and NOM Tour Tracker, for doing the legwork and putting in the time and effort to change my life for the better. Now I want to return the favor by fighting for full marriage equality.
I’m writing to ask for your help so that you and Courage Campaign can help make up for what I’ve done. Your $5 contribution will help right those wrongs, and move more people like me towards the side of justice.
I am truly inspired by the supportive messages I have received and continue to receive since I announced my support for civil marriage equality on Friday, April 8th. So many have shown me nothing but kindness and support.
Now, we need to make LGBT people more visible to people like me. We need to have conversations with people of faith, people with deep-rooted hostility towards equality because of their upbringing. I’m being honest, Erik, when I say I’ve been there and we have a lot of work to do. If someone like me can be moved, I believe folks like Courage Campaign, and its supporters like you, can move anyone.
Please chip in $5 today -- one dollar for each year I’ve spent with NOM -- and together, we can change more hearts one by one.
Thank you for your support, and for all the work that you do.
Proud to now stand with you,
Louis J. Marinelli
Formerly with National Organization for Marriage