Rhode Island sixth-grader testifies for marriage equality during 12-hour hearing

By Emily Mullen
Friday, March 22, 2013 20:55 EDT
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Twelve-year-old Matthew Lannon, a sixth grader from Providence, RI, took to the stage Thursday night during a 12-hour hearing on the state’s proposed marriage equality bill, which happens to be sponsored by Matthew’s aunt, Sen. Donna Nesselbush (D-RI).

“There’s one thing in life that you don’t mess with, and that’s love,” Matthew said during the hearing. “My parents and all the other gay and lesbian parents here just want to be happy like you. All they want is to be treated fairly. And unlike most of you, they have to come here year after year and explain over and over again why their love is equal to yours. This year, you have the opportunity to change that. I say, choose love.”

Matthew’s moms, Maryellen Butke and Josephone O’Connell, who’ve been together for 14 years, attended the hearing to cheer Matthew on. Currently Rhode Island is the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex marriage, though it does provide civil unions for same-sex couples.

Watch the video for this story uploaded to YouTube.com on March 22:

[Photo above of Matthew Lannon via YouTube.com]

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