Brian Brown, an opponent of same-sex marriage and president of the National Organization for Marriage, made a controversial statement Wednesday comparing gay marriage to the death of a parent.
He made the speech as a reaction to Rhode Island legislature approving a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry.
"For the first time, the state of Rhode Island is saying to its children they do not deserve both a mother and a father, and are backing a law that is designed to intentionally deprive some kids of either a mom or a dad," Brown said.
"It's bad enough when families break down through divorce or death, but it's unconscionable when a state encourages this through policies that deprive children of the love of both a mother and a father. This is a very sad day for Rhode Island."
His speech angered many same-sex marriage advocates, including Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
"Brian Brown should apologize immediately - this represents a new low even for someone who has made a career out of demeaning LGBT people and their families," Griffin said.
"Same-sex parents are raising two million kids across this country. Brian Brown owes an explanation to those families as to why, in his eyes, they are not worthy of the same dignity, rights and protections as other families."
Now the legislation is going back to the House for approval. Rhode Island Governor Chafee pledged he would sign the bill when it came to him.