In a marriage equality hearing that lasted until 5 am Friday (22 March), one of the most memorable speakers was a 12 year old boy with two moms and two dads.
'Do you believe that my parents are equal to every other straight couple in Rhode Island? I personally believe everyone is equal,' Matthew Lannon told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'In many ways my parents are like other couples.'
Speaking clearly and with uncommon poise for someone so young, Lannon also said: 'Although they can't legally marry, their commitments are very, very real. My parents have stayed together through sickness and health, through thick and thin, through good times and bad.'
"If there's one thing you don't mess with in life, it's love,' the sixth grader said at the conclusion of his testimony. 'My parents and all the other gay and lesbian people here want to be happy, just like you. All they want is to be treated fairly. But unlike most of you, they have to come again here year after year and explain over and over why their love is equal to yours. This year, you have the opportunity to change that. I say, choose love.'
Rhode Island's Senate is the final hurdle in legalizing gay marriage in the tiny New England state. The state's House of Representatives passed a marriage equality bill in January. Governor Lincoln Chafee will sign the bill into law if it also passes the senate.