For Thanksgiving, I traveled with my family to Boise to visit my mom and sister and her new baby. My sister got married last year, and seeing her new family got me thinking about the marriage discussion we’re having in Oregon.

In November 2014, we’ll have the opportunity to vote to overturn the constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. There are thousands of loving, committed gay couples in Oregon that want to express their love in the same way my sister was able to.

I want all Oregonians to have the same protections and responsibilities that come with marriage. Think about why you got married, or why you may want to — committed gay couples want to marry for similar reasons. I got married because I love my wife and we wanted to share our life together, to have our love recognized by law and to protect the children we wanted.

Now that we have a family, we’re more grateful than ever for the protections that marriage provides us. It seems only fair to extend those protections to every Oregonian who wants to get married.

I grew up with the Golden Rule — treat others as you want to be treated. I wanted to get married, and I think committed gay couples in Oregon should be able to as well. When it comes down to it, this is about freedom — deeply rooted in what makes us all Oregonians — the freedom to marry the person you love.

I worked at Nike for eight years — my wife still works there — and I’m excited that the company committed to supporting the freedom to marry in Oregon, along with many other local companies and organizations. They understand, as I do, that to attract and keep the best people, we must treat all Oregonians equally.

I want the best of the best working to solve Oregon’s problems and cultivate our economy, and the freedom to marry will help attract and keep some of our brightest minds here in Oregon.

I’m looking forward to a future where everyone can marry who they love in Oregon.

I hope that you’ll take the holidays as an opportunity to talk to your family about love, commitment and marriage — why they got married, what marriage means to them and the importance of family.

State Rep. Tobias Read represents House District 27, which covers parts of Beaverton, Southwest Portland and unicorporated Washington and Multnomah counties.

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