Press Releases

Plaintiffs in Marriage Equality Case & Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Weigh In On Wehby's New TV Ad

Sep 09, 2014


Contact: Andrew Gorry / press [at] dpo [dot] org / (503) 239-8634

PORTLAND, Oregon (September 9, 2014) – 

The Democratic Party of Oregon today released the following statements from Bill Griesar, Bob Duehmig, Deanna Geiger, Janine Nelson, Christine Tanner, and Lisa Chickadonz, plaintiffs in this year's court decision overturning Oregon's ban on marriage equality, and Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, the state's chief advocacy, education and political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Bill Griesar, Bob Duehmig, Deanna Geiger, Janine Nelson, Christine Tanner, and Lisa Chickadonz, plaintiffs in the court case that brought marriage equality to Oregon, released the following statement:

“We were happy to see Monica Wehby's advertisement; we only wish Wehby had joined our efforts under less politically motivated circumstances. How is our community expected to trust Monica Wehby when she’s taken so many different positions on marriage equality since the start of her campaign?

"Real courage would have been for Wehby to take this stance during her primary, or to support our efforts to overturn Measure 36 and end discrimination in Oregon’s constitution when our case was before the federal court, but Wehby refused to support us.  

"We're with Jeff Merkley because he has fought for our rights and our freedom to marry for a long time, not just in an election year. He’s been a champion for our community, and he has our full support in his race against Monica Wehby.”

Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Jeana Frazzini released the following statement:

"Basic Rights Oregon is a strong supporter of Senator Jeff Merkley. We have proudly endorsed him in both his US Senate races because he has been a strong ally in our work to achieve equality for all LGBT Oregonians.

"Despite her election-eve conversion, Monica Wehby was nowhere to be found when we were fighting to end marriage discrimination in Oregon.

"Wehby’s states’ rights approach would jeopardize basic civil rights for LGBT Americans. She believes states should have the right to discriminate against people based on who they are and whom they love. It's clear Monica Wehby can't be trusted in the fight for equal rights.”


Monica Wehby Would Allow States To Deny Individuals The Fundamental Right To Marry.

When Asked If The State Should Define Marriage At All, Wehby Said It Should Be Left To The Voters To Decide. During an interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting Radio, Wehby had the following interaction: “MILLER: So should the state define marriage at all then, and have anything to do with marriage? WEHBY: I think that, um, this again, like I was saying, is a state issue and I think it’s important to leave it to the voters, but I do think we have to allow um people, to respect people’s personal freedom as well.” [OPB, 5/6/14]

Wehby On Marriage Equality: “This Is A State Issue. And It’s Going To Be On The Ballot I Understand This Time. So I Will Support Whatever The People Of Oregon Support.” During a GOP candidate forum the following interaction occurred: “[MODERATOR:] ‘Do you support civil unions or redefining marriage?’ [WEHBY:] ‘I believe that this is an issue of personal freedom. As Republicans, we don’t want the government encroaching on every aspect of our life. …I don’t believe the federal government should be involved in the marriage business. That being said, I do think we have to respect the personal freedom of everyone. I don’t think churches or religious institutions should be forced perform ceremonies that they don’t agree with. So we do have to respect the rights of everyone. This is a state issue. And it’s going to be on the ballot I understand this time. So I will support whatever the people of Oregon support.’” [Grants Pass Candidate Forum 3/18/14]


Wehby Has Repeatedly Refused To Support Wildly Popular Equality Measures Until It Was Politically Expedient To Do So.

FLASHBACK: Wehby Refused To Support Changing The Oregon Constitution To Allow Same-Sex Couples To Marry. During an interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting Radio, Wehby had the following interaction: “MILLER: Would you like the Oregon constitution to change so that marriage could be between two men for example or two women? WEHBY; Again, I think this is an issue of personal freedom. And uh I don’t think the government should be involved in those personal decisions.” [OPB, 5/6/14]

FLASHBACK: Oregonian: Wehby Refused To Support Ballot Measure To Lift Oregon’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage. According to The Oregonian, “In an interview, she sounds sympathetic to gay marriage but didn’t say whether she supports the proposed ballot measure to lift Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage. ‘I think families are important, but as a Republican, I think liberty and freedom are important and we should respect that,’ she says. ‘I don’t think that government again should be involved in personal decisions. I think that they shouldn’t be telling you who you love, who you live with, what you do with your health care.’” [The Oregonian, 2/28/14]

FLASHBACK HEADLINE: Monica Wehby Struggles To Answer Whether She Supports ENDA [Huffington Post, 6/28/14]

Wehby Refused To Take Position On ENDA, Said She Wasn’t Familiar Enough With The Bill. According to the Oregonian, “Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley on Thursday guided U.S. Senate passage of a landmark bill that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bipartisan 64-32 vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act marked the first time the Senate voted to include gays and transgendered people under the protection of the nation's civil rights laws… Merkley, who faces re-election next year, also didn't face criticism on the issue from his would-be Republican challengers back in Oregon. His two major GOP rivals in the race, state Rep. Jason Conger of Bend and Portland neurosurgeon Monica Wehby, both said they were not familiar enough with the bill to say whether they would support it.” [Oregonian, 11/7/13]

FLASHBACK: Wehby Wouldn’t Answer Whether She Thought Businesses Should Be Allowed To Discriminate Against Gay Customers. During an interview on KGW’s Straight Talk, Wehby had the following interaction, “MODERATOR: In November there’s likely to be an initiative that will ask people whether they support letting businesses refuse services for single—same sex couples that are going to get married based on the business owners own religious beliefs. Would you support that initiative? …WEHBY: I think that um, the federal government should not be involved in determining who you care about and who you live with and who you love and I don’t think this is a federal issue. MODERATOR: But what about   people as far as, in Oregon? Should businesses be allowed to refuse service—say a bakery—to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple if it violates their religious beliefs? WEHBY: I think when it comes to respecting personal freedom we do have to respect everyone’s personal freedom. I do believe that we should not expect religious institutions to perform ceremonies that they don’t believe in but I also think it’s unfair to discriminate against people as well.” [KGW Straight Talk, 4/26/14]


Wehby’s Record On Equality When She Thinks No One Is Looking:

At Rural Republican Debate, Wehby Agreed With Other Senate Candidates “That Marriage Was Between One Man And One Woman.” According to the Baker County Press, “Volunteers from the Baker County Republican Central Committee sponsored and organized a public candidates' forum, which was held Wednesday evening at the Sunridge… When faced with the gay rights questions, all five candidates mentioned a belief that government had no business being “in the marriage business.” The consensus among all candidates was that marriage was between one man and one woman, but Conger pointed to Oregon’s existing civil union laws, which give the same legal rights without the spiritual aspect.” [Baker County Press, 1/24/14]

On Conservative Talk Radio, Wehby Refused To Acknowledge Her Campaign’s Claim That She Had Endorsed ENDA. According to the Huffington Post, “Wehby came out in support of ENDA on June 16, with her then-campaign manager Charlie Pearce saying she ‘believes that everybody should be treated equally under the law.’ But Wehby was less sure Friday during an interview with conservative radio   host Lars Larson. ‘I don’t believe people should be discriminated [against] for any, any reason, regardless of race, sexual preference,’ said Wehby when asked her position on the legislation. She added, however, that it is important to ‘protect our businesses as well’ to ensure there aren’t ‘tons of frivolous lawsuits out there.’ When Larson noted that she had already come out in favor of the bill, Wehby responded, ‘I came out in favor of the fact that we should not be discriminating against people for any reason.’” [Huffington Post, 6/28/14] (emphasis added)