House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Monday that he has invited two representatives of Little Sisters of the Poor to join him at President Obama's last State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Little Sisters of the Poor is an order of Catholic nuns who serve the elderly poor. It's also the group that sought protection from Obamacare's mandate to offer birth control and other drugs in violation of their religious beliefs.
Ryan was part of a friend-of-the-court brief filed in support of a case filed with the Supreme Court by the Sisters.
"The Little Sisters of the Poor care for the most vulnerable among us, and they should be free to practice their faith without the threat of government interference or intimidation," Ryan said Monday. "The Sisters' stand in defense of religious liberty — one of our most fundamental rights — is nothing short of courageous, and it's my privilege to support their cause."
Sister Loraine Marie Maguire and Sister Constance Veit will also represent the Little Sisters of the Poor in Ryan's box.
Among Ryan's other guests are several anti-poverty advocates, as well as four-year-old Logan Barritt of Milton, Wis., who raised money during Christmas to send care packages to service members overseas during the holidays.
"Kids can be heroes too," Ryan said in a statement. "Logan reminded us that a little pocket change goes a long way, especially when it comes to giving back to the men and women who give everything for us. I look forward to welcoming the Barritt family to the Capitol."
Ryan's other invitations were to "poverty fighters" from both Wisconsin and around the country, who will sit in his box in the House gallery Tuesday night for Obama's speech.
"The answer to poverty isn't the money in Washington," Ryan said. "The answer to poverty is entrepreneurs and innovators like these who are actually making a difference, community by community."
The "poverty fighters" include Rev. Melvin Hargrove of the Racine United School District and founder of Zoe Outreach Ministries in Racine, Wisc., and Antong Lucky, founder of a program in Dallas that helps end gang violence involving the city's youth, among others.
Obama gives his final State of the Union address Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern time.