Standing on the side of love | Amy Johnson

There are many ways to express love, receive love, hold love, spread love and feel love. Here are a few love-themed thoughts as we wrap up February.

Feel the love

February is National Condom Month. For daily tips about condoms and their use, check out Sex in the Suburbs on Facebook.

Remember that using condoms is one way to say “I love you and care about being safe.”

Condoms come in many sizes, shapes, textures, flavors and materials, so there’s one that’s right for you.

Dark side of love

February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Not everyone in a relationship is safe. “Love has many definitions….abuse isn’t one of them” is a tagline from www.loveisrespect.org, an organization dedicated to helping teens in relationships that are hurtful.

Check out www.letyourheartrule.com for information and a quiz to determine the health of your relationship. If your relationship involves hitting, kicking, punching, yelling, isolating or forcing you to do things you don’t want to do, get help now. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, with confidential 24/7 help, is (800) 799-7233.

If you’ve been sexually assaulted by a partner or anyone else, you can contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) at (800) 656-4673.

Rainbow love

February is the month that Washington legislators voted for marriage equality. People on all sides of the rainbow can now legally marry in Washington state — well, not until June 7, unless opponents gather enough signatures by June 6 to demand the issue go back to the ballot in November. So, we can see the rainbow, but we haven’t quite crossed to the other side just yet.

Stop the love

Rick Santorum supporter Foster Friess blew up the media-sphere this week by reminding us all that, in his day, women used Bayer aspirin for birth control by holding it between their knees, “and it wasn’t that costly.” These comments came on the heels of a congressional committee hearing about mandatory contraception coverage by insurance companies. The chairperson refused to let women testify in the hearing on the premise it wasn’t about contraception, but about religious liberties. Only male clergy testified.  Personally, I’m not feeling very represented regarding my religious liberties or contraception.

These incidents have sparked ire among women and men alike for policies that threaten to take women’s health back to pre-1960’s standards. Santorum blames many societal ills on contraception and has stated he believes it is “harmful to women.” (thinkprogress.com) As a Catholic, he should know that even the Pope himself condones condom use to prevent HIV transmission, which I think we can all agree is harmful to both men and women.

What about a group that has moral objections to other Biblical sins, such as gluttony or sloth? Does that mean they can refuse to cover procedures or medication that will prevent or treat obesity? What about diabetes or heart disease if they are caused or exacerbated by diet and lack of exercise? It certainly is food for thought.

I understand some people need strictly designed rules to feel safe. I know they fear those of us who have broader definitions, blurrier lines and alternative explanations. What it comes down to is always a choice of living in fear or living in love, and I choose love.

I’m joining thousands of others and Standing on the Side of Love, a Unitarian Universalist campaign which “seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression.” (standingonthesideoflove.org)

I’m standing with them so that, come June, come November, and come forever more, love wins.

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