Commend Sixth Grader for Standing Up for Gay Rights

Target: Matthew Lannon

Goal: Thank 12-year-old Matthew Lannon for his courage in standing up for marriage equality at a recent Rhode Island Senate hearing.

Twelve-year-old Matthew Lannon, who says he has two moms and two dads who have been together for 14 years, supported gay marriage in full at a recent Rhode Island Senate judiciary committee hearing. In his touching speech, he told committee members: “My parents, and all the other gay and lesbian people here, just want to be happy.” Applaud this young man for standing up for gay rights.

Describing his parents’ commitments as “very, very real,”Lannon added, “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.” Currently, Rhode Island is the only state in New England that does not allow same-sex marriage, but lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples can commit to each other in the form of civil unions. Civil unions are not enough, though, as preventing LGBT individuals from marrying denies them access to over 1,100 rights that heterosexual married couples receive.

Lannon’s angle is simple yet powerful and can be summarized by his statement: “if there’s one thing in life you don’t mess with, that’s love.” Marriage equality is a human rights issue, and more and more children have been speaking out against the unconstitutionality of gay marriage bans. Lannon’s vehemence regarding the issue serves to further enforce The American Academy of Pediatrics‘ opinion that gay marriage must be legal  for the sake of children. He leads by example and there is no doubt that his bravery will encourage more young individuals to voice their opinions.  By signing this petition, you will be letting Matthew Lannon know that you stand with him in his fight for equal rights and applaud his courage.


Dear Matthew Lannon,

We applaud you for your courage in addressing a pressing LGBT rights issue. You are indeed correct: the freedom to marry is a right that should be afforded to all people, regardless of their sexuality. The points you made were both to the point and extremely effective. You are a testament to the fact that LGBT parents are more than capable of raising smart, responsible, and brave children.

If Rhode Island does choose to legalize same sex marriage, it will be the last of the states in New England to do so. We believe that you are a contributor to this fight and that you stand on the right side of history. We believe that you will serve as an inspiration for other children—your speech shows how important it is that young people voice this opinion on this essential matter as well.

Your dedication to human rights is admirable and courageous. We thank you for taking a stand for gay rights and hope you continue to do so in the future.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mario Piperni via Flickr

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