Bil Browning

Rhode Island Congressman Now Supports Marriage Equality

Filed By Bil Browning | March 07, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Jim Langevin, marriage equality, op-ed, Rhode Island, same-sex marriage

Check out this public letter Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin published in the Providence Journal over the weekend. While he didn't support marriage equality jim-langevin.jpgpreviously, he's changed his position.

For many years, I supported civil unions as a reasonable way to achieve consensus on a divisive issue, providing rights and protections to same-sex couples while respecting the deeply held beliefs of those not comfortable with the idea of marriage rights.

Then, 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.

As the debate about same-sex marriage continues in Rhode Island and in Washington, I have taken time to reflect carefully on my own position. 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.

That, my friends, is the power of personal connections - changing hearts and minds. It's the slowest way to gain our rights, but still the most effective.

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