Louis Marinelli, the former Internet strategist for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), says gay marriage supporters have welcomed him with open arms.

Marinelli quit the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage late last week, taking with him the group's official Facebook page and its 219,000 fans.

While acknowledging that Marinelli was paid to help “expand our Internet reach,” NOM President Brian Brown denied Marinelli's claim that he was the mastermind behind the group's Summer for Marriage Tour 2010, a nationwide bus tour to rally opposition to gay marriage.

“Louis Marinelli worked in a volunteer capacity as a bus driver during our summer marriage tour,” Brown said.

In an interview with KQED's Jon Brooks, Marinelli said he's considering returning to the United States from Russia to help advance the cause of marriage equality.

“There's been some possibility raised that I could be of better assistance to the cause of marriage equality if I was home, and so that is something that I'm considering.”

On the reaction he's received so far, Marinelli said the gay community and its supporters have been “highly supportive.”

“All of the letters and comments that I have received over the last couple of days from the LGBT community and their supporter – they've all been highly supportive, very kind. And it's especially interesting and exciting for me because these people have shown me nothing but kindness over the last couple of days, when I'm the one who's been attacking them and going after them for 5 years. For them to be able to just drop that and show the support they have over the last couple of days is really the amazing part.”

“As for NOM,” Marinelli added. “I never really got much of an opportunity to speak with Brian about this. He wanted to discuss it but as soon as the story went out it got all over the place and I got tied up with other things.”