Thursday evening, the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on marriage equality legislation that lasted a staggering 12 hours — until 4:57 AM Friday morning — allowing every single individual who wanted to testify for or against the bill to do so. One of the most compelling testimonies came from 12-year-old Matthew Lannon, who explained about why his two moms and two dads deserve marriage:
LANNON: Both my moms and my dads have been together for 14 years. When I think about what marriage means to me, I think it’s about two people that love each other. My parents certainly fit that description. 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…
So even though I’m only 12, I have some ideas of what’s important to me. I want to be someone who knows no discrimination. I want to become a man who doesn’t judge someone by the color of their skin, their gender, or who they love. I want to use the gift I was given to help make the world a better place.
In closing, here’s what I believe. If there’s one thing you don’t mess with in life, it’s love. My parents and all the other gay and lesbian people here just 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.
Watch it (via Providence Journal):
The New Civil Rights Movement has more analysis of the long night of testimony. This is the first time marriage equality has been considered in the Senate, having previously been blocked by Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D). The committee did not vote before convening this morning.