Shepard Ad Upsets Oregon Gay Group

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 27 2002 12:00 AM ET

Members of the gay rights group Basic Rights Oregon are speaking out against a campaign ad being run by Republican U.S. senator Gordon Smith that includes pictures of Matthew Shepard, The Washington Post reports. Roey Thorpe, executive director of the group, called the ads, which feature commentary from Shepard's mother, Judy Shepard, praising Smith's stand on gay rights, both "infuriating" and "hypocritical." Thorpe, whose group has endorsed Smith's Democratic challenger, secretary of state Bill Bradbury, says that Smith's ads exaggerate his gay rights stands. However, David Smith, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based gay rights group that has endorsed Smith in the race, praised the Republican and the ad: "The senator not only put a positive light on his candidacy, he also put a positive light on the issue--and to my knowledge, this is the first time that has happened. I think the senator should be commended for it."