A 12-year-old boy is reminding us this week of the true meaning of marriage and family.
Standing before a boisterous crowd of marriage equality supporters inside the state capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Riley Hackford-Peer spoke about his experiences as a child of gay parents and the love they've shown him and his younger brother through the years.
"I'm here today to talk about love, family and equal rights," Hackford-Peer told the cheering crowd. "Some people do not believe that I'm from a loving family because my moms are gay -- they are wrong. I love my moms, and my moms love me and my brother, unconditionally."
Hackford-Peer explained that his moms met 17 years ago when they were in college. "They had a commitment ceremony here in Salt Lake City in 1997; lots of friends and family came, but it didn't make them legally married," he said.
But on Dec. 20, 2013, after U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, his moms, Kim and Ruth, tied the knot.
"It felt like fireworks bursting in my heart," Hackford-Peer said of the happy event.
Ruth Hackford-Peer, right, and Kim Hackford-Peer, standing next to her, are married by Rev. Curtis Price, left, while hugging their two children Riley Hackford-Peer, back middle, and Casey Hackford-Peer, bottom middle, in the lobby of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City on Dec. 20, 2013.
Hundreds had gathered at the state capitol on Friday to protest Utah Governor Gary Herbert's decision not to recognize same-sex marriage in the state. According to the Los Angeles Times, the rally took place just hours after the federal government's announcement that it would recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah despite Herbert's decision.
"Governor Herbert wants to treat my moms unfairly," Hackford-Peer said at the conclusion of his speech. "He says he wants to 'protect families.' But I want to tell him that my family deserves protection, too. I have two moms -- and I love them. And they deserve to have their marriage recognized everywhere."
(Watch the 12-year-old's full speech in the video above.)
The Supreme Court said this week that same-sex marriages would be put on hold in Utah, pending the state's appeal of Shelby's Dec. 20 ruling.