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Saturday, March 12, 2011

RI Congressman’s editorial supports marriage equality

Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin.
Rhode Island Congressman
Jim Langevin.
By Hannah Clay Wareham -

Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin (D-Second District) opined in a March 5 Providence Journal editorial that it’s time "to redefine marriage."

Langevin wrote that, while he has historically supported civil unions for same-sex couples, he began to support legal recognition of same-sex marriage after attending the commitment ceremony of a gay employee.

"[T]hree 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," Langevin wrote. "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."

Langevin ended the editorial calling for support for marriage equality legislation, writing that it is now "time to do the right thing."

Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI) lauded the Congressman’s editorial, and released a statement thanking the politician.

"Today is another clear indication that the marriage equality initiative in Rhode Island continues to build momentum. On behalf of MERI, I want to thank Congressman Langevin for exhibiting the courage and reason to allow his position to evolve on this critically important issue which has adversely affected thousands of Rhode Islanders for far too long," said Martha Holt, MERI board member.

"I have an enormous amount of respect for Congressman Jim Langevin and his thoughtful approach to the subject of marriage equality. He has rightfully framed this discussion as a civil rights matter and appropriately highlighted the discriminatory nature of Rhode Island’s archaic marriage laws. Congressman Langevin understands passage of marriage equality legislation is the only vehicle that will afford equal rights for all Rhode Islanders," said Ken Fish, MERI board member.


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