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Every signature has a story: Jacob Hanson

Posted on October 21, 2013

After struggling to come out in my hometown, I left for college at Portland State University to study community development. I saw the freedom to marry win in Washington, and when the campaign kicked off here in Oregon, I knew I had to get involved right away. I volunteered to help gather signatures.

I’ll never forget that beautiful sunny July day when the campaign kicked off it’s signature gathering effort in downtown Portland. One of my most memorable moments occurred at Director’s Park. A 12-year-old spotted me. He bounded toward me, pulling his parents along. “C’mon, Mom!” he said. “You need to sign the petition!”

As his parents signed the petition, the 12-year-old couldn’t restrain his enthusiasm. “We’d also all love to volunteer,” he said. “Sign us all up!” I looked up at the parents, who nodded.

What was even more fulfilling than discovering three new volunteers was seeing how eager they were to help us win the freedom to marry. The 12-year-old seemed ecstatic, and the parents told me how they were relieved to have found a great way to teach their son the values they hold dear, such as the importance of treating others as one would hope to be treated and the idea that freedom means freedom for everyone.

It helped me realize how excited people are to win the freedom to marry. It reminded me of the struggles I had at home, the amazing progress we have made and my hope that someday we will live in a world where everyone is accepted and loved for whom they are.

I learned from this that when you collect a signature, you’re doing more than collecting a signature. Every signature has a story. Every signature is an opportunity to find new volunteers, to identify supporters, to grow support, to spread the word about why marriage matters. We are making history, one signature at a time.