It’s official: Rhode Island became the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage Thursday evening. The legislation passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives, with 56 votes in favor, to applause from the galleries and House floor. Legislators even broke into a rendition of “My Country ’Tis of Thee.” The bill, which was later signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee, allows same-sex weddings beginning August 1, and gives couples already in civil unions the right to change their status to married. “At long last, you are free to marry the person you love,” Chafee said.
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The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings Thursday evening on a bill that would make marriage equality the law of the land in Rhode Island, bringing the state into line with the rest of New England. The hearings lasted until 5:00 am, and many advocates and opponents gave testimony. But the person who stole the show was a sixth-grader.
Matthew Lannon, a 12-year-old who has two moms gave a powerful voice to America's youth in his testimony before the committee, delivering the most clear and concise case for marriage equality you could ask for from anyone, at any age. Here's a snippet:
"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 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."