Rhode Island Congressman Reverses Position on Marriage, Calls for State to Pass Bill

Rep. Jim Langevin has long been a supporter of civil union for gay couples – but not marriage. Now he say that his personal experience with gay couples who are in loving, long-term relationships has made him see why the freedom to marry is so important. Writing about his personal journey in The Providence Journal, he urges the state legislature to pass the marriage bill currently under consideration:

Three years ago, I attended the commitment ceremony of a longtime staff member and his partner of nine years. Before their friends and family, they professed their love, commitment and respect for each other. Their sentiments were just as moving, heartfelt and sincere as any of the vows I had heard at other weddings, yet I realized that their union would not be treated the same under the law. That difference struck me as fundamentally unjust, and I began to challenge the wisdom of creating separate categories of rights for certain groups of citizens. I began to see that civil unions fell short of the equality I believed that same-sex couples deserved.

… Based on my own experiences and my firm belief that all Americans should be treated equally under the law, I am now convinced that affording full marriage equality rights to same-sex couples is the only fair and responsible approach for both Rhode Island and the nation.

… The members of the General Assembly now have a historic opportunity. As a former member of that body, I understand the challenges they face, but this is a time for leadership.

… As the General Assembly considers this important topic, I ask lawmakers and all Rhode Islanders to honor our state’s founding principles of tolerance and freedom and to support marriage equality in our state. It’s time to do the right thing.

This Thursday March 10th the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the marriage bill. You can find out about attending or testifying from Marriage Equality Rhode Island here.