PHOTOS: Advocates testify in support of marriage at first Rhode Island hearing

On Tuesday, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill that would extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples throughout Rhode Island. Supporters and opponents of the marriage law were able to share testimony on the bill. Supporters of the freedom to marry made a strong showing at the hearing, coming together to speak out about why marriage matters to same-sex couples. 

A Robust Coalition Gathers at the State House 

Tons of Rhode Islanders - including Democrats and Republicans, gay couples and straight couples, clergy members, teachers, doctors, and labor leaders, and youth - joined together at the RI House to speak out for the freedom to marry. (Photo by RI United)

Volunteers Speak Out for Marriage 

Volunteers came out in full force for Rhode Islanders United for Marriage, the new coalition of organizations, people of faith, and community members working to pass the freedom to marry in the Rhode Island legislature in 2013. They gathered at the State House on Tuesday to show that real Rhode Islanders support the law. (Photo by RI United)

A Bipartisan Movement

The chair of the RI Democratic Party, Edwin Pacheco, and the former chair of the RI Republican Party, Giovanni Cicione, came together to deliver joint testimony in favor of the freedom to marry. They reached across the aisle and saw that by working together, they can help end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and do the right thing for all RI families. 

People of Faith Speak Out

People of faith have been at the forefront of the coalition to win marriage in Rhode Island - over 100 religious leaders from 13 different faith denominations have come together to speak out in favor of marriage for same-sex couples. On Tuesday, many of these people of faith were represented - including Catholics who support marriage. (Photo by RI United)

Moving Testimony 

12-year-old Matthew from Providence, RI delivered one of the most moving testimonies of the night, speaking out on behalf of his parents. He said, "If you came to our house, you would feel the love that we have for one another. We laugh a lot, we talk a lot about our feelings, we argue, and we are real. Having gay parents has changed my life for the better. I am more aware, I am more sensitive to differences in the world, and I am much more accepting. Having gay marriage won't change our family, but it will change the way that our state and other people see our family - as normal, just like everyone else." (Photo by The Providence Journal)

House Judiciary Committee Schedules Vote

Now, the House Judiciary Committee will vote on the marriage bill on Tuesday, January 22. Follow Rhode Islanders United for Marriage on Facebook for all of the updates on the campaign.

And CLICK HERE to learn more about the freedom to marry in Rhode Island.