HRC Blog

HRC Raises Oregon Flag High Above D.C. Headquarters

The following post comes from Hyacinth Alvaran, HRC Senior Diversity Program Manager

I cannot be more proud than I am today to be an Oregonian and, with my HRC colleagues Erin Miller (a fellow Oregonian!) and Lauren Heasley, raise the Oregon flag high atop the HRC headquarters.

I have lived in five states and the District of Columbia, and I feel such a great joy as I look back on all of them and trace the onward progress of marriage equality: New York, Maryland, Washington, D.C., California, and now, in true pioneering form, my homestate of Oregon –where my family still lives, where I went to middle and high school, where I hid in my room as a closeted queer kid and nervously read about the 2003 Lawrence v Texas decision in the newspaper as I felt a spark of hope for my future, and where my hope was temporarily crushed when the state passed a marriage equality ban the year after.

Now, a full decade later, Oregon has become the 18th state to legalize marriage equality, and I am feeling incredibly proud to call myself an Oregonian. And I am proud not just because of Judge McShane’s decision to recognize the love and legitimacy of same-sex couples and their families who, in his own words, “are committed to the common purpose of love, devotion, and service to the greater community,” but also because of the hard and collaborative work of the Oregon United for Marriage coalition of faith, business, labor, community, and many other organizations who have strengthened Oregonians’ public support for marriage equality. I am also extremely proud to be an HRC staffer whose colleagues and volunteers worked passionately and tirelessly with our partners on the ground to give of their time, their energy, and their resources to pass marriage equality in the state.

When I was a scared and closeted kid in Oregon, I never dreamed that I would work for such an organization and with such amazing partners, much less see the day that marriage equality will pass in my state.

But now, I am dreaming again and excited for all the possibilities. For, as Judge McShane himself stated in his ruling, "Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other ... and rise.”

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