The Right Side of Love

Nova Newcomer

It's about showing our young people...that we are on the right side of love in Oregon. It's showing them that love is the foundation of a just society; that love can make us whole and fruitful.

Dr. Cornel West says, "Justice is what love looks like in public." Conversely, I think justice is what love looks like in private. When I was in college, someone with whom I was very close, came out to me. It wasn't something I had expected or even ever thought about in relation to this person, so it came as a surprise. I remember I was working on a project in my room and she came in and told me she thought she might be gay and did I think that was wrong? I felt two emotions at once: honored and sad. I was honored because she felt she could trust me enough to tell me and yet sad that she thought she needed my acceptance.

This is the society we have created, one where people feel the need to seek out acceptance for who they are, rather than live from a place of confidence in their worth. This issue aside, it's already so hard to be a young person growing up in our society. I want for my kids (almost 5 and under a year) to grow up in a world where it's okay to be who you are; I want them and their peers to be accepted simply because they are human beings with hopes and dreams like everyone else. No one should ever have to seek out acceptance because of who they love. Because love is not only needed and desired, it's just.

Speaking of love, doll cakes are a bit of a tradition in our family (stay with me here, I'll make it back). I got my niece a doll cake for her birthday. It was a beautiful SUPER pink doll cake, with champagne pink cake and pink icing. As you might have guessed, she loves the color pink. The cake forms the dress around a real doll — it's a pretty magical cake to get a young person. My son thinks it's the most beautiful and yummy cake he's ever had. He tells me he wants one with Snow White or Ariel for his birthday. And if that's still the cake he wants when it's time to order (4 year-olds are notoriously quick to change their minds), that's the cake he will get. Because I love him and because a cake is a pretty fun, beautiful, and tasty demonstration of love — at least in my book. That should be the end of the story, but I know it's not. I know there are people who might not agree with my son getting a doll cake for his birthday, who might not want to put a boy's name on a "cake for a girl". Or specifically as we saw recently, someone who, through their business, might want to deny a couple a wedding cake because they were a same-sex couple. The fact that we still have people and businesses who want to deny some of our fellow citizens access to public demonstations of their love is to deny them and us justice. Because it's not the love that we get that makes us whole, it's the love that we give. With all that is going on in our world around us, how can anyone argue against encouraging more love? How can we deny the opportunity for our state to be whole?

That's why when Basic Rights Oregon announced today their plans to put overturning Oregon's constitutional amendment and support for marriage equality on the 2014 ballot, I was in tears. It's about more than just marriage. It's about showing our young people, our sons and daughters, our nieces and nephews, our granddaughters and grandsons, that we are on the right side of love in Oregon. It's showing them that love is the foundation of a just society; that love can make us whole and fruitful. That no one should be denied access to our accepted institutions demonstrating and codifying love in public. And no matter what religious beliefs you hold, a desire to be on the right side of love is something we should all have in common.

This isn't going to be easy, or cheap, or fun (well some of it could be fun), but I hope with all of us working hard together throughout our state, come November 2014, we will all get to have our cake and eat it too on the right side of love!

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