U.S. senator Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) has launched what appears to be the first-ever ad for a statewide political campaign that promotes a candidate's favorable stand on gay issues, The New York Times reports. The 30-second TV spot features Matthew Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard, talking about Smith's outspoken support for federal hate-crimes legislation. "My son Matthew was viciously murdered simply because he was gay," Shepard says in the commercial, which is filled with soft-focus images of her son. "Gordon Smith stands with me in the fight against hate.... I would consider Gordon to be a good friend because he's very compassionate. Matthew would have liked Gordon a lot." Smith's chief of staff, John Easton, told the Times that the ad is meant to convey that Smith is an independent Republican.