Sixth Grader Testifies for Marriage Equality at R.I. Hearing

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com March 25 2013 5:29 PM ET

In a speech reminiscent of the moving testimony Zach Wahls gave in 2011 defending same-sex marriage, 12-year-old Matthew Lannon surprised the Rhode Island senate judiciary committee when he delivered a heartwarming and insightful speech defending his family at last week’s hearing.

“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,” Lannon told the crowd. “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. “

Currently, Rhode Island is the only New England state which does not recognize same-sex marriage. Instead, civil unions are the only option available to LGBT couples in the state. However Lannon, whose family includes two moms and two dads who have been together for more than 14 years, hopes his testimony will urge members of the judiciary committee to recognize his family as equal to any other.

“If there’s one thing you don’t mess with in life, it’s love,” Lannon said. “This year, you have the opportunity to change that. I say, choose love.”

See an excerpt from Lannon’s speech below.