Last week, the National Organization for Marriage announced it would be conducting a “summer of marriage” bus tour across the nation to promote their agenda. According to the tour’s website, http://marriagetour2010.com, the bus will make stops in 18 states, including Minnesota, as well as in Washington D.C.
Two investigations by the bloggers at Good As You and Asterisk turned up evidence suggesting this road trip was the brainchild of a right-wing online activist, previously unaffiliated with NOM, who has regularly attacked lesbians, gays, and bisexuals as, among other things, promoters of prostitution, pedophilia, and polygamy.
While this sort of affiliation would not surprise many members of the LGBT community, NOM has branded their campaigns against marriage equality as a reasonable opposition to same-gender marriage that still respects the identity of LGBT people. If the bloggers’ reporting is true, the affiliation between NOM and activist Louis Marinelli would be a dramatic departure that opens the organization up to damaging attacks on their brand, attacks that could tar any anti-equality bills or political campaigns they are planning for the November elections and drive moderate voters away from candidates they support.
So why would NOM risk their reputation on a hate-filled activist’s scheme? According to some of the evidence compiled by Good As You, it seems that Marinelli had marshaled a substantial following through Facebook and Twitter, and was able to convince NOM that the group could capitalize on his network.
As OutFront Minnesota’s Public Policy Director, Monica Meyer, hypothesized in an interview with TheColu.mn earlier this month, it appears that NOM is more concerned with making sure as many of their hard-core supporters turn out for the November elections in support of anti-equality candidates than they are worried about passing any anti-LGBT laws. In this context, it makes sense to build on a network of people who follow a right-wing anti-LGBT activist, as they would care most about the outcome of November’s elections, provided they can keep Marinelli’s zealous rhetoric out of the headlines.